On Lovelytheband’s debut album, Finding It Hard To Smile, the group grows upon the sound from their debut EP and stretches out the good vibes over the expansive 16-track LP. The new group is led by former Oh Honey lead-singer, Mitchy Collins, guitarist Jordan Greenwold and drummer Sam Price. The group has had over three million streams of their debut single, “Broken,” and has toured extensively since their debut EP dropped in 2017.
The album opens up with the instrumental/atmospheric synth-laden title track, that flows directly into the second track “Pity Party.” The synths and guitars mesh well and play off of each other nicely on this track, as drummer Sam Price sets the pacing brilliantly. The following track, “Make You Feel Pretty,” finds Lovelytheband at the utter-catchiest, with a bouncy verse and upbeat sing-a-long chorus. In the second verse, Collins paints a picture of a relationship that appears to be very one-sided, when he sings, “Oh, I could use a Xanax, maybe that’ll fix this/She’s like an addiction, something I ain’t kickin’ easy/Am I wasting my time?” These catchy, yet relatable lyrics, paint the band as group willing to wear their heart on their sleeves and showcase their vulnerabilities.
“Broken” keeps the up-beat pace moving on the fourth track, and the chorus is repeated several times throughout the track, and is a great “ear-worm” of a hook. “Alone Time” pulls back the mid-tempo to high-tempo vibes of the earlier tracks, and lets the band expand upon their sound with more of an atmospheric track similar to the style of Hippo Campus and Smallpools. Collins continues to play upon his uneasiness when he sings, “I don’t have to feel good/I just wanna feel better/And I know I probably should, probably should/Get up and get my life together/Well there are days when this mattress/Like an island I’m on/Trapped alone with these feelings/Will I ever get off, I don’t have to feel good/I just wanna feel better.”
The first single from this LP, “These Are My Friends,” while not as catchy as the early half of the album, still fits on this album, as it progresses the story of Collins’ and crew journey on why they named their album the way they did. “Coachella” follows this, and gives a nice shout-out to the California-based festival as the breathy vocals of Collins help the band tell their memories of a great weekend spent there. “In your head it’s Coachella every weekend/Free spirits and flowers on your head/I love the way that you laughed with me/And we sang.” It’s pretty clear at the half-way point of this album, that Collins reminiscing of the past and this relationship in particular, may not always be healthy for his mind-space and it sets up the next half of the LP.
“Your Whatever” opens up the next chapter of the story, when Collins sings about this love interest, “You said you really like Springsteen/And I think that I like that a lot/A flower child of the 70’s/At least she thought that she was/She was wild, she was dangerous/In all the best ways.” Collins lyrical style continues to paint him as a vulnerable soul on tracks like this, and the following track, “Maybe, I’m Afraid.” He clearly is afraid to fall head-over-heels in love with the person with earnest lyrics such as: “Maybe I’m just too good/Maybe I’ll run away/Maybe I’m over you/Maybe I shouldn’t stay/Maybe I just don’t care/Maybe I talk too much/But baby I’ll be there.”
While, “Walk From Here,” Collins expands upon this now-toxic relationship singing, “I will not be no good/Sweetie you’re no better/We used to be sugar, and now all I taste is bitter.” The closing trilogy of tracks rounding out the cohesive story of the relationship-turned-sour, “Make Believe,” “I Like The Way,” and especially, “Everything I Could Never Say…To You” complete this book for Lovelytheband. This story tells the heart-breaking experience of front-man Mitchy Collins’ relationship-gone-south, yet he has lived to tell the tale and move on. While this album is not outstanding, it does have a ton of redeeming moments in it, and rewards those who stick with it until the bitter end.