It should come as no surprise that on an artist’s first release post-pandemic, they will have at least something to say about the subject. The question is how much. Thankfully, Alex Lahey doesn’t beat the horse to death on The Answer Is Always Yes, her third record and first since 2019’s The Best of Luck Club.
Straight out the gate, lead single ‘Good Time’ seemingly confronts the state of… things… head on, referencing being ‘filled up to the brim,’ and people who have ‘forgotten how to talk but won’t shut the hell up’, before insisting in the chorus that everyone is in need of a good time. (I won’t argue.) What follows is an album that is exactly that.
But let’s be honest – a good chunk of Lahey’s songs to date have invoked those “let the good times roll” vibes. So in that respect, not a lot has changed, thankfully. But she does take us for some twists and turns along the way. ‘Congratulations’ for example, sees Lahey add a bit of modern grunge to her sonic repertoire, taking cues from contemporary success stories like Wolf Alice and Momma. And with its nearly spoken-word vocals, penultimate track ‘They Wouldn’t Let Me In’ has quite a bit in common with fellow Aussie rocker Courtney Barnett. It’s refreshing to hear Lahey continuing to branch out into new territories with every record, whilst still maintaining the core of what made us fall in love with her in the first place.
‘You’ll Never Get Your Money Back’ in particular harkens back to her stunning debut, I Love You Like A Brother. ‘Love never leaves you in the black / You’ll never get your money back,’ she sings in the chorus, an earworm that diehard Lahey fans will surely latch onto instantly. Similarly, the pop-punky ‘On The Way Down’ is sure to be a future live favourite, its bouncy tempo and driving rhythms carrying the song along to an anthemic conclusion.
‘Makes Me Sick’ is a bit reminiscent of something the late Adam Schlessinger might have written for a soundtrack. It’s a compliment at the highest level – Lahey’s similar ability to weave relatable, interesting lyrics with addictive melodies is unmatched on The Answer is Always Yes – quite frankly, she’s never sounded more confident or in command.
By the time the title track comes round to tie things up in a neat little bow, you’ll realise you’ve been grinning for a solid half hour. Equal parts pop, indie rock, and punk, The Answer is Always Yes is quintessential Alex Lahey. You’ll be hard pressed to find something more rejuvenating and rife with singalongs today. And if you’re still asking yourself “should I give this a shot today?”, the answer is… well, you can probably finish that joke on your own.
HAIKU: You need a good time? Alex has you covered here Crank it up and sing
Alex Lahey’s third record is out today on Liberation. You can listen on all major streaming platforms, and of course pick up a physical copy over at her Bandcamp page.