“Are you in love?” questions frontwoman Lydia Night, as the thump of a heartbeat is drowned with sounds of nature and hints of optimism in her voice. “Do you feel it in your stomach? Does it twist and turn and scream and burn and start to make you cry, but you like it?”
On How Do You Love? LP — The Regrettes’ sophomore album with Warner Records — the Los Angeles-based band amalgamates a decade-blurring mix of pop, rock ’n’ roll and punk with fierce, poetic lyrics that tackle being contaminated by love — all wrapped in a technicolor daydream.
From the initial contamination by love, to moments of questioning and the eventual end, Night alongside guitarist Genessa Gariano, bass guitarist Brooke Dickson and drummer Drew Thomsen take individual experiences with love and transform them into more generalized tales that establish a sense of relatability between the band and listener — like peering into the mind of others in love.
And with all band members ranging from 18 to 24 years old, the intelligence and emotional capability of The Regrettes attempting to understand the nuances of love as presented on the LP rebels against the stigma that young kids don’t have a grasp on love.
The introductory poem “Are You In Love?” sets forth a narrative, satirical play on an infomercial with a hypnotic-like essence that calls for a self-assessment of being contaminated by love that leads into 14 tracks detailing these newfound feelings.
The intensity and whirlwind emotions provoked by the poem is replaced with the melodic single “I Dare You” that captures the rush associated with an initial encounter with love. Dripping with a heavily 90s pop-influenced sound, this track paired with Night’s effortless yet powerful vocals strays from the prevalent punk and 60s doo-wop sound of their debut Feel Your Feelings Fool! LP.
And the music video featuring choreography, color-blocked outfits and daydream-like sets with clouds surrounding the band marks a sense of experimentation with their sound and visual brand that is not heavily continued into other tracks or videos from the LP.
Returning to their more distinctive punk sound, track “Pumpkin” provides insight on the confusion surrounding love and the gradual understanding of how love, as portrayed in pop culture, grows more relatable with lyrics like: “I used to think that/Romeo was full of shit/And the Notebook was/Just my favorite chick flick/But now I get why/Sarah was so hard to forget.”
The prominent 60s doo-wop guitar sounds swaying and catchy chorus with the hit of each “La, la la la la, la” shows the level of musicianship to effortlessly integrate this traditional rock ‘n’ roll sound not on the forefront of contemporary punk music.
Continuing to blur the decades and immersing the listener in a more 90s pop essence — like single “I Dare You” — track “Go Love You” details the feelings of being fed up with the inability to make sacrifices as presented with a prevalent anthemic opening that ignites this sense of angst from the initial note.
This sense of being tired of the inconsistencies within the relationship transitions into closing track “How Do You Love?” that embodies the empowerment of accepting this growing period, redefining “love” and giving little fucks paired with a very traditional punk sound with the melodic howl of the electric guitars and sharp, distinctive hits of the drums that marks the end to this contamination by love.
Without a doubt, listening to How Do You Love? LP will lead to questioning how you define love, and what role it plays in your life. And if you feel a newfound rush, dance to “I Dare You.” If you feel confused, accept the discomfort to “Pumpkin.” If you feel like a badass, parade around to “Go Love You.” If you feel empowered, turn up “How Do You Love?”