At a time when the music world is saturated with more bands than ever, Restorations are a refreshing change of pace: An act who undeniably embody the DIY spirit but also bring along a real breadth of musical knowledge and an unlikely set of influences that somehow manage to work perfectly together. Equal parts punk rock and polemics, Restorations is a unique group of musicians that's difficult to categorize and even harder to get out of your head
Formed out of the ashes of the long-running Philadelphia rock act Jena Berlin, Restorations—vocalist/guitarists Jon Loudon, Dave Klyman and Ben Pierce joining forces with drummer Carlin Brown and bassist Dan Zimmerman— have crafted an album, LP2, that transcends punk rock and picks up where their extremely well-received self-titled LP left off. The irony of this situation is the fact that Restorations was supposed to be a break from the endless grind of sleeping on floors and playing countless tours that the band experienced in their previous incarnation.
"I think a lot of what's happening with this band has to do with the fact that nothing went right with the old band, so when we started Restorations we decided to say yes to everything," Loudon explains. "Whenever we got asked to do anything we'd be like, 'Yeah this is awesome and it might be the last time we get to do this' and it's been that way with every release." In that spirit the band never actively shopped their material and Restorations' organic approach to releasing their music through friends' labels is one of the things that attracted SideOneDummy to Restorations.
Then of course there's the music, which is a unique blend of indie rock, punk rock and, yes, focused psychedelia, that can only come from spending a decade honing their skills in an organic way. After producing their music largely on their own, the band linked up with close friend John Low at Philadelphia's own Miner Street Studios to create an album that captures the unbridled energy and sonic grandeur of the band's live performances. That's not to say that making LP2 was easy. The band spent over a year preparing for the record to make sure it sounded comfortable and relaxed instead of serious and sterile.
It worked. From the driving, anthemic vibe of "New Old" to the inventive indie rock of "The Plan," LP2 is a remarkably diverse album which makes sense when you consider how varied the members' respective tastes are. "I think the influences for us are a little broader than a lot of acts because we don't have one central songwriter," Loudon explains, citing everyone from the classic punk acts to noise metal as inspiration. "Over the years we've become more comfortable with trying stranger things and odder combinations to see what works," he continues. "The general rule is if everyone is into it then we just go for it and we really carried that spirit into these songs."
Correspondingly Klyman says that the mid tempo rocker "Quit" came out of a bassline that started as a joke. "We just took it and ran like it and then at the end I realized it sounded like a couple of different bands but we didn't try to make it sound like anything," he explains. "On our own we're not good solo guys but we're good at taking each others songs and making them better." Another huge asset is the level of trust these musicians have developed from playing together. "Dave and I feel like we've surrounded ourselves with people who really know what we're doing and being able to say you don't like something and not getting bent out of shape about it is really important," Loudon explains.
Lyrically LP2 sees Loudon once again collecting his own vignettes and pairing them with the group's music to create a narrative that isn't linear but instead is as vast as the instrumentation that supports it. "The theme of this band is boredom and repetition and focusing on little tiny moments and that type of thing, so this record is just a collection of those stories," he explains. In fact sharing these stories are what lies at the core of the band in the sense that Restorations aren't looking to be the biggest band in the world, they just want to continue to create music, evolve and bring their music to fans all over the world.
"I feel like if we tried to set a real goal with this band it would be kind of pointless because we've been doing it long enough where if you think you're getting to a certain level then you're just setting yourself up for disappointment," Klyman explains. "So it's better to just see what happens, which is how we've always approached this band." Whatever ends up happening there's no question that with these songs as a vehicle, Restorations is headed somewhere uncharted and they'd like to invite you to come along for the ride.