Lunch Lady - Angel LPUpset! The Rhythm (UK)
Lunch Lady are a sparky group from Los Angeles redolent of the desert heat, pining hearts and that chorus-soaked cloak of sound held dear by followers of British early '80s post-punk. Numbering four, Lunch Lady consist of Rachel Birke (vocals), Juan Velasquez (guitar), Victor Herrera (bass), and Robert Wolfe (drums). The band began in 2017 when Velasquez asked Birke if she'd like to start a new music project with him, their respective other groups Abe Vigoda and Heller Keller having co-existed in LA's DIY orbit. Lunch Lady's dreamy punk forays into country ballad territory certainly swoop into sentiment, but it's the melancholy of artifice that defines their outlook. Lunch Lady recruited friends Herrera and Wolfe into the rhythm section, swiftly recorded a demo and started playing live. The band's music began to grow into sun-warped vignettes, often miniaturist character-studies in outlook. These songs are studded with unquiet recollection, all delivered with a curious objectivity that pulls the listener into the circle. Birke's vocal is unhurried and assured, pressing her characters' motives and words into the sprightly guitar trails and jogged rhythms that characterize the sound of the band. During the summer of 2018, Lunch Lady had assembled the tracks for their debut album, which they took into the studio towards the year's close. Lunch Lady's debut album, Angel was recorded at Gauchos Electronics, a key studio in the history of Los Angeles punk and the place where many of their peers had laid down albums previously, including Gun Outfit, Feels, Ty Segall, and No Age. Angel is an album of resounding yearning, of cold fire and hot, sticky blood. It's an album of troubled tales, buried hearts and wandering homeward. Throughout, Birke's narrative-heavy lyrics keep things themed and theatrical. This is most strongly felt on cinematic swirls of song like "Preacher Man" and clicky, strummer "Sweet One". The stunning track "Dolores" creeps and ranges around under a dark cloud of disclosure. "Window" whirls by with all the flourish of a card trick. Drums tumble whilst the guitar line twists through the taut stretch and sprint of the bass turns. Thematically, Lunch Lady's debut cascades with crumpled wishes and hotly recalled visions. The album swims with a type of anxious nostalgia. Birke's cover art of a flaming Cadillac falling through the sky is a case in point. Produced by Pascal Stevenson. Engineered and mixed by Scott Cornish. Mastered by Mikey Young.