Album Review: Lavender – You Are in the Right Place (Winner NMF Ep 80)

Lavender is a band that defies simple description. The sound might be described as rock most simply, but there are probably a dozen ways to elaborate on that in more specific ways. Here’s how I describe the sound: impactful, dynamic rock. That’s not a genre, but that’s what I hear.

The opening track “Dangerous Game” will put you in the mind of 80s rock bands like the Bangles. There’s a punctuated rock energy that comes across as crisp and powerful. The guitars and vocal dance together in a way that sounds like raw, youthful energy captured in a moment.

The following “Berlin” has a bit more of an atmospheric quality to it. The guitars and vocals dance together on this one as well in a more intimate way. The musical elements coexist in a bright and beautiful moment that reminds me of watching a newly married couple take their “first dance” with 200 people watching them. It feels strangely intimate, yet also fills you with warm fuzzies of joy. That’s what this song communicates for me, so yeah… fair to say I like it.

“Moving Fast” feels more like an electro pop jam with some rock elements to it. Moving back to an 80s vibe (and a lyric “back when we were young”) connotates a throwback ethos here. The sound takes a pretty stark change in direction for “Short on Time,” which almost bleeds into the folk world. But what makes it such an amazing song is the way it showcases the lead vocal. While we are sometimes critical of vocalists for being too theatrical, this lead is really stunning. It’s powerful in points, then wrinkles under for a subtle intimacy. To be able to do both things so well… that’s a rare gift.

The final track “Fade” takes us to a club electro sound that feels like a completely different band. Of course the common thread is the amazing lead vocal that resonates with incredible power and youthfulness. It’s a track that I absolutely could hear on pop radio and hope, for Lavender’s sake, that it ends up there.

All told, this short album is a blend of styles that show that the band could probably be in two or three different genres. That’s not a bad thing! It might be worth considering (from a marketing perspective) actually creating two different bands to develop those contrasting styles. However, for our eclectic tastes on our site (and with our listeners), this is a great album. I could listen to this album with friends who are 80s kids and love that comeback sound, as well as some of the folksy types who will dig a few of the middle tracks. It’s versatile and I plan to get a lot of play out of it.

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