As the drums pop to begin “Heart Attack,” the opening track to Cold Fronts’ debut EP Pretty American, the song demonstrates the group’s natural gravitational pull towards catchy hooks that hide around every corner of the album. The dual guitars play off each other providing the energy to cook up these tasty power pop morsels. While one lays down the power chord riffs - a quick flurry which sets the tone and also moves with a casual yet upfront feel, the second guitar lays down lines straying ever so distant from the group yet remaining tied in. The vocals welcome you into the party with a carefree, YOLO attitude. With that glimpse into the aesthetic framework of the band’s first release, the following track “Primetime” revels in the EP’s slackerdom vibe with its lazy drawl delivery and late night, substance-induced Philosophy 101 lyrics. “We’re all just a bunch of mistakes.” However, there is glimmer of hope (and familiarity) with the song’s anthemic chorus - “woah, we can make it better, come on, come on, let’s get together” - that could inspire an audience sing-along long after the band has stopped playing. The album closer “Catch” holds true to the previous tracks found on the record balancing clean, burrow-into-your-head guitar riffs with lyrics that speak to the listener in a straight-forward manner. “Let’s run away into a new town, let’s catch a wave, let’s find a new sound.”
Pretty American succeeds in its simplicity combining the steady backbeat with the driving force of relatable, vintage guitar licks and lyrics that almost instantly seem memorable. It’s classic radio-friendly pop rock from below the waist with a youthful kick. The EP opens the door to Cold Fronts, and after taking a listen, you’ll want to step inside and look around. - Michael Colavita
For those who decide whether to come or go based on the first forty seconds of an album, Restorations’ LP2 is practically tailor-made for snap judgments. After a chiming, anthemic guitar opening, the band already known for fist-raising jams lets all hell break loose with “D,” their most unrestrained opener yet. The drum kit-mauling, earth-shaking bass lines and ascendant guitar riffs can only be described as complete sensory overload, and make it clear that the following eleven songs are going to be fueled by pure viscera. If your preferences run towards structure over huge sound, this release may leave you cold; LP2’s predominant means of exploring the band’s wealth of ideas are stadium-sized instrumentation and endless waves of atmospherics, as well as a dose of ennui.
This is a murkier, more inward-looking Restorations than we’re used to. Everything that was there before, musically, is blown sky-high this time around. They’ve managed to pack ideas into every iota of the song list, aided by Jon Low’s miles-deep production; the density of the music itself is offset by an album-long meditation on place, belonging, and the ramifications of leaving the familiar behind, which makes the outsized sound that much more of an interesting direction. Juxtaposing the existential discomfort with more sophisticated, complex forays into Restorations’ sonic wheelhouse.
The spiraling guitars, one of the album’s specially prominent features, are everywhere, serving various purposes in each song. “Kind of Comfort”’s jittery glam rock aspirations accompany lyrics of searching and wanderlust. Even the more downbeat cuts (“In Perpetuity Through The Universe,” “New Old”) are propelled beyond their subject matter by the songs’ barely-concealed restless energy. At its more pensive moments, like the folk-inflected “Civil Inattention,” there is a restless undercurrent of texture and volatility that never quite lets up.
Album closer “Adventure Tortoise” is all monster buildup laced with extraterrestrial effects, kicking off into a sort of requiem for the band’s neighborhood. “I’d really like to stay to help this place,” growls Jon Loudon through his teeth, but the allure of letting it all go is too strong to resist. The longing for a place “where nobody knows your name” isn’t quite all-consuming enough to inspire real action, but it is definitely the new paradigm Loudon means.
It takes guts to pull off a release that feels ten minutes long but contains more emotional and musical texture than most records. Restorations cover a whole lot of ground on LP2, and for the most part, pull off their ambitions. A bit too sanguine for shoegaze, and maybe too heady for punk, Restorations’ second full-length album brings an intriguing palette of aspirations to their open road-ready sound, prepared to try anything and everything. - Alyssa Greenberg