Restorations | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist
Philly indie five-piece Restorations conceived their latest album LP5000 during a period of turmoil and transition. In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, and facing setbacks within the independent realm of the music industry, the band took a mental health break. Each member pursued their own projects or made strives in their personal lives: for Jon Loudon, the giant leap was marriage, for Dave Klyman it was heading to grad school, and for Ben Pierce it was opening his own vegan restaurant in South Philly, The Tasty. After switching record labels and taking time to get it together, the band returned for this piece of work — which is streaming a week ahead of its release date over at NPR Music. Full of reflective songwriting and pensive lyrics, LP5000 portrays a slightly wiser perspective and heightened awareness of the world.
Opener “St.” holds back nothing, Jon Loudon’s voice gravelly, music rising to crescendo in the vein of grand heartland rock. Here Restorations reclaims their roots. “Nonbeliever” is an existential anthem that captures the anxiety of having to juggle adult responsibilities while losing sleep over the fate of the world. “You just refresh the news and repeat it again,” go the war-weary lyrics, “You’re running out of things to give away.”
In an interview with Uproxx, Loudon revealed the nature of the song, commenting:
“It was the first time that people I knew were having real problems on top of global problems. Where do I move? I have people to take care of now. Where do I go? What am I doing? Those were the conversations of a lot of people I know were having in the past couple of years… It’s strange to hit that mid-30s next step freakout, while there’s no good country to move to anymore.”
“Melt” has a similarly political vibe, a warning flag about truth-blurring and alternative facts poisoning the media. It amplifies the overwhelming sensation of being bombarded by headlines conveying scandal and crises at every turn. “Just click refresh / I know you’ve been scared from November,” he sings, repeating, “No I don’t wanna hear that name again.”
The theme of displacement surfaces on “Remains” and again later on “The Red Door,” the latter referencing a specific marker of gentrification in Philly neighborhoods, condos with red doors. The lyrics describe what it’s like to watch your home slipping into an vague, unfamiliar outline and the desire to simply find comfort again.
Restorations head out on tour next week, and return home to Philly for a headlining show October 21st at the First Unitarian Church with Wild Pink. Tickets + info can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. LP5000 officially drops next Friday via Tiny Engines but you can listen to the entire album here, courtesy of NPR Music’s First Listen series. Check out lead singles “The Red Door” and “Nonbeliever” below.