Folk-rock band Lake Street Dive has officially dropped their highly-anticipated new album, Obviously, (through Nonesuch Records) consisting of 11 brand new original songs! The album was produced by GRAMMY Award-winning producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mike Elizondo, whose work spans the musical globe. Elizondo is best known as a songwriting collaborator for Dr. Dre, Eminem and 50 Cent, also serving as a record producer for Mary J. Blige, Carrie Underwood and 21 Pilots, among many others. Lake Street Dive brilliantly found another way to capitalize on Mike’s producing skills, by blending his hip hop record-making expertise with their unique, folk-indie sound. Add in the addition of now permanent keyboardist Akie Bermiss — along with the band’s wide-ranging taste in pop, rock, R&B and jazz — and Obviously has now become the definitive album for this band to shout, “We are back!”
Obviously gets its name after the first word in the lyrics of opening track “Hypotheticals”, a funky dance beat that sets the tone for the whole album. For a lack of better word, it’s obvious from the beginning that LSD was able to utilize and zero in on Elizondo’s expertise, because, on this track in particular, the grooves run especially deep. An overwhelming sensation of rhythm and fun champions just about every second of this first song.
In an ever-impressing fashion, the band blends together retro and contemporary attitudes while maintaining their cohesion and individual sound.
Bassist Bridget Kearney recounts her experience working with Elizondo, “We’ve been a band for so long that we didn’t want to just become a feedback loop of our own ideas; it felt like a really good time to bring in another person like Mike and he really opened us up. He encouraged us to make bolder arrangement choices, take those chances and try those things. The record really is a success in what we set out to do: continue to challenge ourselves, continue to grow and do things we’ve never done before.”
“Being a Woman”, the album’s fourth track, is quite an eloquently done, jazzy ‘fuck you’ pointed directly at the systemic gender inequalities that plague our society. A finger-snapping shoutout to anyone identifying as a female who has to deal with the full-time job of just being you. Lead singer Rachael Price’s gorgeous vocals drop several references to issues women of today struggle with. One that stands out the most is when Price begins to sing about The Women’s March and how those in opposition referred to them as “just another angry mob”, while ignoring yet another lone-gunman loading up his shots. Like I said, a very eloquent ‘fuck you’.
Album closer “Sarah” gets performed a cappella, having just as much emotion and abundance as a full orchestra ensemble. With all the vocals they needed fresh and ready to go, “Sarah” was actually the first song recorded for the album. Slowly built up piece by piece, this outstanding vocal performance is just the pallet cleanser needed to cap off a masterfully done album. The range and talent portrayed across all of the songs — from producing to musicians to vocals — should see Lake Street Dive continue to climb higher and higher along their path to success, inspiring and encouraging as many as they can along the way, with not a ceiling in sight. Obviously is available everywhere now.
Purchase or stream ‘Obviously’ album:
- Hush Money
- Same Old News
- Being a Woman
- Making Do
- Nobody’s Stopping You Now
- Know That I Know
- Lackluster Lover
- Feels Like the Last Time
Lake Street Dive – “Hypotheticals” official video:
Cover photo by Shervin Lainez
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.