It doesn’t really get any more cut and dry – perhaps almost in a funny kind of way – than Restorations naming their second full-length LP2. It’s about as cheeky as it is blunt, a kind of strange reflection of what the band does on this second collection of tracks deemed a full-length. Yet on these nine tracks, the band sways between blue-collar punk, post-rock nuances and bluesy licks to create something that literally defies a concrete description outside of said parts that make up the whole. And while LP2 isn’t necessarily all-rock or all-roll, the combination of grit-shined vocals and driving instrumentals makes this an adventurous, yet calculated record to consume.
LP2 does plenty of things well – whether it be building to monumental peaks or cascading from them in the form of a whitewash of melodies. The hardworking riffs of summery tracks like “D” – which has a hint of “Amazing Grace” in the cracks of its boisterous guitar lines – “The Plan” and “New Old” give this album the feel of something akin to The Gaslight Anthem or The Menzingers at least in terms of a consistent vibe. But in seemingly just a confident blast, Restorations is quick to round out the sound with massively deep instrumentation though drawn out melodies and a variety of approaches on deploying them. Whether it be a bit of sludge (“In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe”), with a bit of slow-stirring spice (“Civil Inattention”) or drenched in effects (“Adventure Tortoise”), LP2 doesn’t quite have a front-to-back plan to keep the steam rolling from track to track, but it literally gives you enough looks to keep the album from getting dull due to lack of progression.
Yet between the subtle placement of solos, bombastic punches and driving punk rock, Restorations take a bit of pride in their weirdness so to speak – for better or for worse. While at times you’ll feel like you’re listening to a slightly more ambitious alt-punk record, the dirges in sounds much more open than rhythmically cyclical guitars make for an often wonderful tangent or side-journey into the writing side of the band. If anything, the nature of the band’s working can be a bit off-putting as you work through their swerves and curves, whether it be a slow-riffed opening (“Quit”) or getting used to the variance in saturation of the melodies depending on the part. While Restorations derail themselves completely in the process, a song like “Kind of Comfort” shows some glaring spots of miscalculation in applying what generally seems to be sound writing in terms of melody.
While LP2 is a bit of a wild horse to wrangle, the movements it contains strike starkly in the quest for creating an album that balances familiarity and finesse in a way that isn’t very predictable. Restorations might not exactly turn a million heads with this album due to some overlying weirdness and the decision to stay away from some overlying constriction in their sound – save for some tonal decisions in the guitars and vocals – but LP2 proves to be a record with resilience and confidence in the hand it plays. In turn, Restorations prove they might be quite on to something – a sound that isn’t remarkably familiar but full of surprises, fun and not without room to improve as well.