Chicago – Philly’s Restorations was born from punk, bred in emo, and matured in full-fledged rock ‘n’ roll. Singer and guitarist Jon Loudon, guitarist Dave Klyman, bassist Dan Zimmerman, keyboardist and guitarist Ben Pierce, and drummer Carlin Brown make up this band that defies categorization. Restorations blended genres and created a unique sound right from the start, yet it was the punk community that quickly embraced the band. Three full-lengths later, and with even more of an expanded sound, the band seems ready to break free from the confines of the punk community and in turn, welcome a wider audience. LP3 is an album that can be appreciated by punks, indie fanatics, and rock ‘n’ roll aficionados alike because as SideOneDummy says, “It’s music from people who listen to, and love, music.”
Restorations formed in 2008 after Loudon, Klyman, and Pierce called it quits from their post-hardcore band, Jena Berlin. In an interview last year, Loudon told Best New Bands:
“Restorations was built with the intent to be a long-term project that we could work on from home. No touring, no spending money on it. We wanted to get back to making music without all of the pressures of being on the road. Initially, we were just trying to branch out creatively. I started playing guitar for the first time, and Dave started singing more. I think a lot of the genre bending we do now came out of not feeling like we had to make a ‘complete’ sounding project.”
All intentions aside, Restorations eventually signed with SideOneDummy and found themselves touring, albeit at a much more leisured pace. That said, with the powerhouse that is LP3, Restorations’ fan base will surely grow, so these five guys may find themselves on the road much more often.
Restorations’ LP3 boasts nine tracks crafted with love thanks to their longtime collaborator, producer Jonathan Low (The War on Drugs, The National, Modern Baseball). “Wales” starts the album out with kick-drum and building guitars, that eventually explode, met with Loudon’s raspy voice, reminiscent of Tom Waits. Restorations’ love for The Constantines and The Menzingers can be felt in “Wales” and other songs on the album, but the Pennsylvania men manage to create a sound all their own.
The lead-in to “Misprint” is just as phenomenal. Songs like “Misprint” and the single “Separate Songs” demonstrate Restorations’ constraint and ability to slow down and speed up to enhance emotional and instrumental impact. Restorations also have the musical maturity to know when to add or limit more guitar – which is especially important when making use of three guitars – such as in “Misprint” and “All My Home.” The more you listen to the album, the purposeful weaving becomes more apparent, further appreciating the time and effort put into LP3.
Once you get over the instrumental dynamics, focus shifts to the lyrics. Such is the case for “Tiny Prayers” and “Most Likely A Spy,” with witty lines like “tiny prayers to the coffee cups scattered across my house” and “and the things we trade in some stranger’s basement and the things we trade on the boats of a foreign shore.”
A definite stand-out on LP3 is the emo rock ballad “All My Home.” Loudon achieves calmness here; his gentle voice finding respite from the gruffness. “All My Home” sings like a love letter to adulthood, making peace with youthful mistakes and forsaken relationships and appreciating life for what it is. Over escalating drums and magnificent horns, Loudon sings: “These unfamiliar things we’ll call our own, and I will make it all my home.”
The lengthy but lovely “It’s Not” closes out the album, lush with guitars, sounding at times like a Foo Fighters song. Loudon sings, “These days I believe in anything I’m hearing.” A listen to LP3 will leave you believing in Restorations.
LP3 is available for purchase on iTunes. The men of Restorations are currently on tour. Click HERE for tour dates.
Photo By Mitchell Wojcik
After attending The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Sarah went on to study education at Dominican University, earning a degree in history. When not teaching, writing, or taking in a show, she is most likely to be found with a camera to her eye or hanging out in a darkroom.
You can follow Sarah Hess on twitter at @Sarahhasanh and view her music photography on her website: smhimaging.com.