The Lovely Bad Things' debut album The Late Great Whatever is a 12-song blast of energy that draws power from the Pixies, Star Wars, Redd Kross, hanging out all day with your besties, and making a ton of noise. Meeting on the hallowed ground where the fierce energy and clatter of punk hook up with the choruses and singalong cheerfulness of pop, the songs are delivered with a breezy sense of humor and fun, but also with a lo-fi power that never lets up. The band switches instruments, trades vocals, and generally comes across as kids having a total blast. Sometimes that leads to indulgent, messy albums but The Late Great Whatever is fairly tight-sounding and its songs never feel tossed off or trashed. Instead, the group's songwriting is sharp and to the point, with only the occasional meandering musical interlude to break the momentum just a bit. The Pixies' comparison is pretty vital, because along with the prerequisite loud/quiet dynamics that any band who likes the '90s even a little is bound to have absorbed, the male vocals have plenty of Black Francis' off-kilter shoutiness, which is made palatable by the cooing Kim Deal backgrounds Lauren Curtis has down. (Check "Fried Eyes" for an example of them channeling the Pixies and maybe even beating them at their own game.) Her lead vocals are a highlight on the album too; the tenderness she brings to songs like "Rope Swing" and "Hear or Anywhere" is a nice counterpoint to the mad dash to the finish line the other songs represent. She also shows she can rock out just like the fellas on the hard-charging "Maybe I Know." And rock out they do on 100-mph tracks like "Kessel Run," "Randall the Savage," and "Darth Lauren." No matter how you feel about Pixies worship or Star Wars references, if you have an affinity for loud, fast, but brainy, punky pop that is fun and full of hooky jams that'll have you bobbing your head like a maniac, The Late Great Whatever is just what you need to make you happy.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra