Alex Lahey ‘s brand new album, The Best Of Luck Club, couldn’t come at a better time. Released on the eve of the Australian federal election, Lahey confronts the pains of millennial struggles through her universal approach to songwriting. She seamlessly integrates the personal and couples it with anthemic, searing pop-punk melodies. Like her stunning debut, I Love You Like A Brother, Lahey demonstrates that she holds numerous smashing hooks under her belt. The Best Of Luck Club picks up where Lahey left off, but races forward. There’s more ballads, unexpected instrumentation, and the lyricism we’ve come to know, and love is even greater.
Lahey co-produced the album with acclaimed record producer and audio engineer, Catherine Marks (Manchester Orchestra, Wolf Alice, The Wombats). Seemingly a match made in heaven, Marks boosted Lahey’s self-confidence. The Best Of Luck Club also reintroduces the roar of saxophone, celebrating Lahey’s return to the instrument for the first time in years. Alex Lahey showcases her superb abilities as a multi-instrumentalist for her sophomore album, playing every instrument aside from the drums.
The Best Of Luck Club welcomes listeners to a safe space. Lahey gives a voice to millennial weariness, with the songs traveling through burnout (“Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”), the isolating burdens of adulthood (“I Don’t Get Invited To Parties Anymore”), honoring The Cure (“I Need To Move On”), moving in with her girlfriend, and vibrators. Expertly crafted, each song is diverse enough to represent ten different people hanging out in a dive bar.
In the explosive “Misery Guts,” Lahey proves that she hasn’t lost her penchant for rage. It’s the first song Lahey has written in the midst of anger. Embodying the badass fury of her peer Courtney Barnett, Lahey doesn’t let up. The song is further elevated with a sparingly used snappy bass lick following the chorus. What’s most surprising is that “Misery Guts” is situated between two piano-led tracks. The first of them, “Unspoken History” is a contemporary, all too identifiable tragedy.
“We couldn’t play the roles we were assigned/wasn’t any space with everything on your mind,” Lahey laments against a despairing piano. In one fell swoop, “Unspoken History” eloquently details a relationship at the edge of ruin. Also centered around Alex Lahey and a piano, “Isabella” is the polar opposite. You couldn’t be mistaken for thinking “Isabella” is actually a cut from Jack’s Mannequin’s classic album, Everything In Transit.
The first single, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” invites reassurance it’s okay to have bad days. Wrestling with the overwhelming feeling of burnout, Lahey lets loose with an utterly delightful saxophone solo. Another endearing anthem, “Am I Doing It Right” captures the deliberating sensation that she just can’t do anything right. Wrapped in a flurry of electrifying riffs and drums, and aside faint electronics, “I Don’t Get Invited To Parties Anymore” is fabulous. In an introspective bridge, Lahey pleads, “can I go back and not be left behind?” She immediately presents the direction The Best Of Luck Club will follow: you’re going to have fun while getting flung through a roller coaster of emotions.
The Best Of Luck Club originated from 12-hour long songwriting sessions where Lahey found herself inspired by the Nashville dive bar scene. “Whether you’ve had the best day of your life or the worst day of your life, you can just sit up at the bar and turn to the person next to you,” she shared upon the album’s release. She was often told “best of luck.” With that ideology burning in her mind, Lahey transformed The Best Of Luck Club into a broad yet brainstorming record. Handled delicately, Lahey triumphantly inhabits ten different roles or ten different patrons of a dive bar. She presents varied experiences that could easily represent someone’s day.
The Weezer-lite “Interior Demeanour” and shattering “I Need To Move On” document the lowest times of Lahey’s life. Album closer “I Want To Live With You,” however, lives on the other side of the spectrum. Grandiose and lovely, “I Want To Live With You” couldn’t be more different to previous album closer, “There’s No Money.” At the end of I Love You Like A Brother, Lahey expressed fear for the Australian LGBTQIA+ community, discussing “huge roadblocks in the way of making [marriage equality] happen.” Marriage equality has been legalized in Australia since December 2017. “I Want To Live With You” is a beacon of hope. At long last, a celebration for Lahey and her partner.
While it’s easy to assume Lahey is an apolitical artist, perhaps the most political aspect of her artistry is simply being herself. In The Best Of Luck Club, Alex Lahey is vulnerable. She is young and assertive. Most notably, Alex Lahey is loud, proud, and unabashedly queer.