Restorations‘ “Separate Songs” is a rock anthem about computers and unsurprisingly, it does not take a positive attitude toward them. John Loudon finds himself among the simultaneously plugged-in and disconnected, “all singing the same time, to separate songs.” And it would be dull moralizing (like most rock anthems about computers) if some of Loudon’s displeasure wasn’t aimed at himself. During the hair-raising crescendo of “Separate Songs,” when Loudon chucks his laptop and yells, “Imagine that focus in real life/ Imagine going outside,” the conviction is real. Focused, extroverted, consistently gripping and inventive, LP3 is the sound of a bar band believing they can fill stadiums.
The previous two Restorations LPs touched on everything that’s made Philadelphia the most exciting city for American guitar music — garage rock, classic rock reappropriation, punk, emo, alt-country — without committing to anything. On LP3, they achieve a fusion of pedal-stomping and fist-pumping similar to the War on Drugs‘ Lost In the Dream, though Restorations are far more brawny, physical and unapologetically rawk than their Philadelphia neighbors. The guitars on LP3 are more about edge than the Edge, Loudon’s vocals have a believable grit similar to pre-self-parody Gaslight Anthem, while the production of Jon Low (Mr. Twin Sister, Modern Baseball) is sharp and gleaming. LP3 never disappears into clouds or Loudon’s own head — “Separate Songs” and “Most Likely a Spy” surge toward alt-rock nirvana, whereas the ballads (“Misprint,” “The Future”) expand and levitate like zeppelins. In all likelihood, Restorations will still have to play LP3 in cramped clubs and early festival slots, but as far as “fake it till you make it” wish fulfillment goes, it’s on par with Rick Ross: This is a band willing their greatness into existence and imagining everyone singing the same time to their songs.