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Review: Loner Chic, ‘Year Of The Goth’

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Written by Joel Funk

There has been a noticeable upswing of incredible power pop bands that have been born into the scene. I don’t know if I will ever tire of the catchiness of straightforward pop songs being combined with the attitude and musicality of something a little edgier. We’ve seen this formula strike gold once before, as it made Weezer into something bigger than Weezer ever set out to be. That success is arguably what has helped usher in this new crop of incredible power pop gems. The best of which has to be Connecticut’s one and only,  Loner Chic.

‘Year Of The Goth’ is their debut album, and there’s a vibe to the record that really cements the title. It’s this effortlessly cool kind of pop record that isn’t unaware of it’s feelings, but talks about them almost passively. There’s never any melodrama in the delivery, instead opting to create these huge and uptempo hooky pop songs. This is a rare instance that sees me in love with every aspect of an album; the attitude of the songwriting, the title of the album, and the artwork are all just so complimentary. The first lines of album opener, “Emo Phillip’s Revenge,” is a perfect introduction to the kind of sardonic pop that listeners should expect by playing into the stereotypes of the genre Loner Chic is bound to be lumped into.  It reads, “I wrote some songs/I put the tape deck on/and I strum away my pain for everyone.”  

Things come to an early swell with “Be A Burnout.” The third song on the album is arguably the song that shines the brightest with it’s biting lyricism, infectious chorus, and the sick sounds of an organ that ring through the backing music. It may sound weird, but hearing the organ pick up behind “Can’t wait for you to be a burnout baby” always gives me goosebumps. This was the first song I heard from ‘Year Of The Goth’ and it’s what first made me feel that Loner Chic could take over the world.

The rollout for this record has been great. Following up “Be A Burnout” with “Imaginary #2” was the best decision. “Imaginary #2” is super high energy, and has this super dancey riff in the middle that brings you right into beach-ready surf punk territory. There’s not much to say apart from the fact that the song is fun, kids will eat it up, and I hope it becomes a staple in their live show.

Now, I may have said that “Be A Burnout” is the song that shines the brightest, but it’s still only my second favorite on the album. That song has some major mass appeal, and it is a star in its own right for that, but it pales in comparison to “Childhood Bedroom.” The organ has made a prominent comeback in this song, and it’s this sweet almost parody of a love song. How could you not gush over lines like “We sang softly to The Lemonheads in my room/Teenagers in a constant state of static crisis” and “It’s a shame that I’ve never been too good with names/but I still shine like the morning sun when you say mine.”

Loner Chic have struck paydirt with ‘Year Of The Goth.’ It’s a record that draws you in for it’s sort of bitingly cynical outward appearance, and only allows brief glances at any kind of real vulnerability. It’s a pop record for the sardonic; allowing you to fully embrace your love for these huge and bombastic pop songs without guilt. It’s an incredible first look at what Loner Chic can bring to the table. This is my favorite power pop record, and hell, it could be one of the best we see this year.

This was posted 2 years ago by Joel Funk.
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