Friday, August 19, 2016

Lutheran Heat: the debut album!

There's nothing I love more than hearing a band that's totally in my wheelhouse yet somehow completely transcendent of genre. Out today on Piñata Records, Louder From the Other Side is the full-length debut from fab Minneapolis foursome Lutheran Heat. It's a record that I can recommend not just to the garage/punk/power pop crowd, but really to anyone who appreciates exceptional songwriting and music with soul. Likability is one of the great intangibles of music, and Lutheran Heat just has it. Louder From the Other Side sounds a little like that next great album I've been waiting for X to make since the late '80s. Garth Blomberg and Sara Pette are dynamite on dual vocals - excelling individually but making their real magic when their voices combine. They write songs that speak to what's meaningful in life, and they sing them with heart and sincerity.

Having had a few years to develop an impressive repertoire of songs and a strong identity as a band, Lutheran Heat has managed to deliver an unusually accomplished debut album. Musically, the band is all about catchy and well-crafted pop songs - with the additional influence of rootsy rock n' roll, country, soul, indie rock, doo-wop, and the very spirit of Minneapolis itself. These tunes have a way of hooking you not just with melody, but also with the stories they tell and the feelgood vibes they create. Kicking off with the idyllic stunner "About a Summer", Louder From the Other Side proves to be one of those rare albums that delights from start to finish. The hits just don't stop. "Keep Comin' Back" brings to mind something along the lines of Van Morrison fronting a '60s girl group. "Now Ya Know" is full of folksy country goodness that will have you smiling into next week. "Stay Cool" delivers an indelible melody that you'll find yourself whistling at seemingly random moments. "Who Ya Cryin' For?" could get even the dead up and dancing. And "Wire, X, and Heart" is an anthem for those of us who associate many of our most cherished memories with the music that was playing at the time. 

Louder From the Other Side, far more than just a fine collection of songs, is an album in the truest sense. And it's a fantastic one at that. Drummer Justin Nelles totally nails it when he says, "These songs will make you wanna toss some beers in your bag and ride to your favorite porch or river spot and drink 'em all with your buddies." It's a perfect release for these final weeks of summer - as we strive to savor all of the good times the season has left for us. I could say that you should buy this album if you like rootsy power pop and garage stuff. But somehow that would be selling it short. So to put it more accurately: you should buy this album if you love music!


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