by Timothy Michalik (@timothybleached)
Now more than ever, emerging bands possess remarkable depth within their music. Indie acts such as DIIV, Beach Fossils, and Chastity Belt are prime examples of this modern phenomenon. It's not necessarily reflective of their musicianship, but rather a "sound" they are trying to capture. On Lunch Ladies' debut Down on Sunset Strip, the New Jersey quartet embrace the musical depth of their predecessors while also appending hints of pre-2000's emo and melodic jangle pop.
The title Down on Sunset Strip in itself is reflective of the mood Lunch Ladies took into the recording process. The name "Sunset Strip" might give uninformed fans thoughts of risible glamour and endless sunshine. However, for those who are familiar with the mile and half stretch through West Hollywood, Sunset Strip is not quite as romantic as it seems. I like to think of Lunch Ladies in the same way. Their sound is obviously reminiscent of beach-pop and sun soaked shoegaze, but there's a lingering presence of trash ridden shore lines, particularly those of their home state, New Jersey.
Symbolism aside, Down on Sunset Strip is an extremely matured love affair. Lunch Ladies have escaped their DIY recording and flanger guitar pedal past and moved onto more formidable production, songwriting, and instrumentals. As Down on Sunset Strip begins, the band incarnates a larger than life sound, making it clear that their days of basement recordings are far behind them.
Although their sound is quite evocative of jangly indie pop, the band's emo presence tends to seep through the cracks of their music, particularly on tracks such as "Sad Jeans" and "Bumming Too Much," which, oddly enough, are the only songs with male vocals. Not only does their sound resemble the sub-genre, but the band's rather careless attitude reflects the stigma and attitude of emo as well. Besides the twinkling scales and semi-depressing lyrics, Lunch Ladies tend to wash out the emo-abled sounds with their verb drenched guitars and harmonious background singing.
One of the many strange beauties that lies within Down on Sunset Strip is the band's lack of commitment to a genre. Their absence of devotion to one established sound highlights their diversity - and in this day and age of music, diversity seems to be a vital aspect of the winners and the losers. At their best, Lunch Ladies act as the second coming of the many bands that were gone too soon. Through their nostalgic echoes and their swirling ambiance lies a hidden gem in the year of music. These kids are too talented to be this unknown.