On Restorations’ first album in four years, LP5000, the group delivers an emotional wallop over seven songs in a 25 minute span. It’s a look into being in your thirties, appreciating all the things that the age brings, love, stability, and the prospect of a bright future still ahead, but sometimes just falling short.
In addition, with what feels like a scandal a day in the news, the world seems to be retching at this point. Like vocalist/guitarist Jon Loudon says on the creeping, anxious “Nonbeliever”: “I love your protest lines/oh, but who has the time?” coupled with “Got a partner for starters/and a kid on the way/can’t be doing all this dumb shit no more,” it’s pitting ideology vs. reality. How are you supposed to stay engaged when there’s all this other stuff that needs your attention?
That’s just a part of it. “The Red Door,” LP5000’s sweeping, totally anthemic first single, addresses the process of gentrification. “Feel my pulse pick up with/every building that’s built/haven’t we all felt a little/a little in between before?” Loudon says. Sure, he could be talking about the band’s hometown of Philadelphia, but it also doubles as a song about the transitional point of your life of moving from one constant to something totally unfamiliar.
It’s a clever sleight of hand, until the final dead giveaway: “All I want is to see you comfortable/In your own skin/In your own way.” It’s a simple statement conveyed with the disappointment and exhaustion of emotion of watching one of your favorite places being wiped away without a trace in favor of something hollow and empty, or worse, replaced with nothing at all.
LP5000 is a complicated record that has remarkable highs and lows in such a short amount of time. Restorations have always been a band that crushes with dynamic sonic shifts paired with bone-cutting truths. That’s no different here. “And now you can’t afford to live in the town you were born in/When they ask you where you’re from, you tell them the truth/You don’t know, and who does anymore?” Loudon sings at the end of “Remains.”
They’re a band trying to live the best they can and admitting it’s fucking hard. We’re people less about where we’re from and more about how we relate to each other through our experiences. In the unbearable nowness of now, it’s the best we can do. It’s good records like LP5000 exist to remind us of that.