Out of Auburn, Alabama comes Lady Legs with its sophomore album Off Days, a 14-track record which explores a varied array of musical genres through a lyrical lens that ranges from acerbic observations to cheerful nihilism. Throughout Off Days, Lady Legs departs from the surf-rock tones of its past records in favor of post-punk, country and psychedelic fuzz. The four members of Lady Legs, John Sims (vocals/guitar), Grant Galtney (vocals/guitar), Seth Brown (vocals/bass) and Ellis Bernstein (drums), have been recording and performing together for nearly a decade, and Off Days is the band’s second full-length release through boutique label Communicating Vessels.
The first half of the album encapsulates the dejected doldrums of adulthood, a tone set by the opening track, “Quit Bringing Me Down,” a thrumming, uptempo anthem which acknowledges mundanity and stagnation while simultaneously trying to shake it off, exorcise it through thrumming guitars and an upbeat tempo, as Sims sings, “You haven’t changed a bit / You’re full of it.” The third track “Patience,” a song about scraping through to the end of the week, ambles alongside a laid-back kick-drum beat though contains an edge in the lyrics, “Keep your high hopes and I’ll keep my scapegoats.” Lady Legs’ old surf rock sound still shines through on certain tracks such as the revelatory number “Wasted Emotion,” the opening riff of which shimmers in surfy tones, and which closes out the first half of the album.
The 44-minute album is divided into two halves by a 52-second mid-album track titled “Interlude” which features a tinny keyboard ditty, calling to mind a hand-cranked music box held closely to one’s ear. After its daydreamy echo fades out, Off Days launches into its second half, easing in with the understated track “Learning From Myself,” before making way for a punchier sound in the pop riffs of “Not Right,” and “Idle Hands.” The latter track stands out as a solid indie rock track with Sims’ vocals calling to mind Julian Casablancas, backed by cheery “ba ba ba”s despite lyrics such as “I can tell you’re just not well / By the look on your face / You’re going through hell” indicating a darker frame of mind. As the album progresses, tracks are more varied in both genre and mood, evident in “For You,” a sprawling, bluesy number which ruminates on anxiety in an unbalanced relationship. The last standout track on the album, “Thank You,” which features a pared-down guitar whose riffs again verge on the surfy, begins, “Well I wanted to be patient / But I lost my cool tonight.” Lady Legs employs spoken word at the end of this track as an accented voice shares observations on an “addiction to thinking,” noting that “Can’t stop thinking / Is like can’t stop drinking.”
Off Days spans many moods that have become all too familiar since its conception and release, matching the highs and lows of this era in which there are so many days that feel “off,” making it, as the band calls it, “a suitable companion for these strange times.”
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