Record Label: Self-Released
Release Date: March 19, 2013
When Lydia called takesies-backsies on their 2010 disbandment, it was easy for many fans to be skeptical. For one, the reunited band would only be comprised of two-fifths of the original line-up—fans worried whether Lydia would be able to recover from the loss of the female backing vocals or interesting guitar work that defined 2008’s remarkable Illuminate. Also, this “reunion” was announced only fourteen months after the band had released Assailants, a record that was intended to be Lydia’s swan song.
However, Lydia’s first record after their hiatus, Paint It Golden, turned out to be a worthy follow up to Illuminate, and displayed the same level of creativity and passion that made Illuminate such a fan favorite. So now that the stress and anxiety that comes with releasing a comeback album (if you can really call it that, considering the short time the band spent apart) is behind us, can we expect Lydia to continue releasing good music for years to come?
The answer is certainly yes, as Devil, Lydia’s latest full-length, is absolutely a good album. It doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by the last two outings, but still, it is by no means a disappointment.
Devil harnesses the same airy winter atmosphere that dominated Paint It Golden and puts a more straightforward pop-rock spin on it. The result is an anathematic, catchy, and entirely enjoyable entry into Lydia’s already fantastic catalog. Opener “The Exit” is a perfect indicator of what is to come, taking cues from the more upbeat parts of Paint It Golden and enhancing the band’s inner Jack’s Mannequin. Leighton Antelman’s vocals are as impressive as ever here, and the same can be said for his lyrics, never failing to construct vivid images within the mind’s eye: “We drove right past the exit and nobody even said a thing/ the lights in your eyes, they started dancing for my brain.”
Lydia definitely embraces their ability to write undeniably catchy songs this time around, as evidenced by “The Exit” and first single “Knee Deep.” Devil is certainly Lydia’s most positive and upbeat album, with the subject matter mainly focused on the sublimity one finds in love: “So just come back to bed/ My God, I love how you say that/ Let’s make a toast to it,” Antelman breathes loftily in the jaunty "Back To Bed.”
That’s not to say that the band has lost all of it’s edge, as "Take Your Time” proves that Lydia are professionals when it comes to crafting moody rock tunes. Meanwhile, “Devil” juxtaposes darker verses with huge choruses in one of the best songs that the band has ever penned.
The album is certainly not perfect, as some of the songs have a tendency to blend together, especially toward the middle. But, luckily, Devil only gets better and better with each listen as the change in style begins to settle in. If you’re looking for Illuminate, well you’re out of luck. But Devil is, without a doubt, worthy of a spot next to it in our hearts. And hey, whoever said there wouldn’t be room for two in there anyway?