Lake Street Dive “Bad Self Portraits” Album Review

Lake Street Dive “Bad Self Portraits”
“Bad Self Portraits” is the latest album by Lake Street Dive, a band who have actually been together for nearly a decade after meeting as students in Boston. The band have managed to gain a lot of attention recently, including a cover of the Jackson 5 “I want you back” going viral on You tube. They’re a band with a huge variety of influences and styles ranging from sixties girl groups, British Invasion Rock and even gospel blues.
The album opens up with the title track and the first thing that hits you is the sense of just laid back cool, a feeling which is maintained throughout the album. The next thing you realise is just how amazing vocalist Rachel Price’s voice is. “Stop Your Crying” opens up like some big soul number but also adds a more rocking feel as well. This along with “Bobby Tanqueray” are soul songs but with rocking guitar lines and are like a more restrained and poppy Sallie Ford And The Sound Outside.

There is a more down beat sound on “Better Than”, and it has a real feeling of heartbreak. “Just Ask” also has a slower tempo but this time it has a blusier feel to it. The uncluttered style and poignant vocals give it a sense of tugging on the heart strings.

“Rabid Animal” is like a wonderful old school soul song given a modern pop feel. It would surely appeal to fans of one of the bands of the moment, Haim, as it uses the same somewhat sparse vocal effect. That modern pop soul sound continues on “You Go Down Smooth”, although underneath there’s a beat which keeps bringing to mind ‘Lust For Life” for some reason.

An almost country guitar twang is used on “Seventeen” before it again moves in to an effortlessly cool song. It has a feel like a sixties soul number built into a huge seventies AOR/Arena rock song. “What About Me” sees them deliver a more throw away track, but again it is mainly because they make it all sound so god damn effortless. The whole album then ends with the epic sounding bluesy/soul number “Rental Love”.
This really is quite a delightful album. It dips its toes in to so many great classic styles including soul, blues, R’n’B, jazz and rock. Very importantly, they manage to blend all their styles and sounds in a cohesive fashion, which means the album just carries the listener along in a smooth, intoxicating manner. Bands like Alabama Shakes and the Black Keys have managed to reintroduce this idea of bringing back a feel of authenticity and blues to a modern sound. Lake Street Dive’s sound is different to those bands as it is more soul based but it has that same feeling of being both very classic but with a modern twist. They’re getting a fair bit of press attention and coverage now, which is fully deserved, so make sure you don’t miss out on them.

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