You really cannot beat a perfectly judged lyric. A flash of wit, a well-observed judgement or a jab of world-weary cynicism, just something that makes you sit up, smile, and take note that you’re not listening to the same run of the mill indie/pop punk/emo/whatever band.
Loner Chic are so adept at their wordplay that ‘Year of the Goth’ will leave you in permanent rapture and grinning from ear-to-ear. Take ‘Imaginary #2’; the entire second verse is one long storm-front metaphor that is so brilliantly precise it flows like poetry.
It helps too that the stories conjured by Loner Chic are rooted in the same humdrum situations many of us find ourselves in on a daily basis. Combined with the lyrical excellence, it means ‘Year of the Goth’ is hugely relatable for anyone who found themselves struggling to fit in or encountering relationship problems or on the wrong end of some unrequited love. It could’ve been sappy and corny, instead it’s wonderfully poignant without being too saccharine. It’s an album filled with 10 tales of awkward growing pains penned by folk who write songs like Tarantino writes dialogue. And it really is wonderful.
Musically ‘Year of the Goth’ is fun and loose, recalling the fuzzy, formed-in-a-garage-over-a-keg-of-beer feel of The Replacements or, more recently, Sorority Noise or Joyce Manor. That said, there’s still plenty of head-bobbing highlights. ‘All Natural’, which led their 2014 demo, sounds amazing thanks to a top-notch production job, sitting somewhere between the unhinged bluster of Titus Andronicus and the cocksure swagger of the Libertines. There’s even a lovely little horn section by The World Is A Beautiful Place’s Chris Teti. Elsewhere ‘Day Drunk at the Gates of Hell’ is five and a half minutes of bliss, taking a simple ‘90s college rock riff and pairing it with this rambling, affecting, monologue that is at turns painfully self-aware, at others a name-dropping delight.
Back in January, we included Loner Chic as ones to watch in our 50-band 2016 preview. Not only have they exceeded our lofty expectations, they’ve also delivered one of the finest debuts you’re gonna hear all year. You just need to get past THAT artwork!
’Year of the Goth’ by Loner Chic is out now on Broken World Media.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)