A TIME

LY­DIA LOVE­LESS

Exclaim! - - REVIEWS -

Real Real, Colum­bus, OH singer Ly­dia Love­less’s con­fi­dent and poppy fourth al­bum, builds on 2014’s grit­tier Some­where Else. But while that al­bum sounded a bit like Wilco’s A.M. crossed with cow-punk Lucinda Wil­liams, on Real, Love­less and her long-time pro­ducer Joe Viers em­braced a Cars-ish retro pop sound. On top of Love­less’s usual gut- wrench, the songs for Real were writ­ten while Love­less and her hus­band, Ben Lamb (who also plays bass) were “go­ing through a time.” One gets the sense of emo­tional hard­ship on songs like the melodic “More Than Ever” when Love­less belts, “your mis­tress is pound­ing harder on the door,” be­fore fol­low­ing up with the qui­eter, “but I guess you don’t want to see her any­more.” She’s hurt­ing, but no less rock’n’roll for it. On “Heaven,” Real’s big, su­per-pro­duced, Talk­ing Heads-ish funky faith-shaker, Love­less tack­les her re­la­tion­ship with faith, while on “Euro­pean,” Love­less com­pellingly gets into the head of a self­jus­ti­fy­ing stalker. “Mid­west­ern Guys,” per­haps Love­less’s an­swer to Liz Phair’s Ex­ile in Guyville, is a scathing, witty cri­tique of a cul­ture and time that goes back to the ’90s. For all of Real’s va­ri­ety, the al­bum’s qui­etest song, “Clumps,” demon­strates once again that de­spite her rol­lick­ing coun­try rock, all Love­less needs is her flick­er­ing, torchy voice and a few steadily strummed chords to con­vey her hard fist­fuls of truth. (Blood­shot, blood­shotrecords.com)

IS IT HARD TO WRITE SONGS ABOUT YOUR RE­LA­TION­SHIP WITH YOUR HUS­BAND IN THE BAND?

No, that’s the easy part. The hard part is confronting your life as an ac­tual hu­man. As a song­writer I tend to be like, “I’ll write a song about it,” and then “there, those feel­ings are ex­pressed.” I’m work­ing on hav­ing dis­cus­sions with peo­ple I’m hav­ing is­sues with as op­posed to just, “Here’s a song, I feel so much bet­ter, how do you feel? Never mind!”

WHAT’S “MID­WEST­ERN GUYS” ABOUT?

The funny thing about that song is there’s a lost verse. [It] was ac­tu­ally where the song sparked from. The verse was about my hus­band’s half-brother who was do­ing drugs in a tree and fell out and died. [The song] is about the ’90s in ru­ral Ohio, where we’re all from, guys just driv­ing around drunk and crash­ing into trees. No one had any di­rec­tion and ev­ery­one was very bored. It was kind of a poke at all the dudes that I know. SARAH GREENE

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