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ALEX LAHEY | I LOVE YOU LIKE A BROTHER (LP)

The release of Alex’s Lahey’s one and only EP – B-Grade University – was one that you can tell will forever define her career. Each track is a timeless piece that will be related to for years to come, perfectly written from start to finish every element stood strong. It meant that approaching her debut album I Love You Like a Brother  was a daunting task as a fan, let alone for her. How Lahey can match the consistency and brilliance of her past ten times over is a question on our minds.

To put it in short, there is no need to worry. I Love You Like a Brother is an album as timeless and personal as each and every track on B-Grade University. There may not be a massive level of development in her sound in the year since the release but this was expected thanks to the presence of more than a few of these tracks in her heavily toured show since, and around the EP release.

The album feels like a road trip through the experiences of growing through late teens and twenties. From the recognition of the cycle of failing at self-care, to realising the value and positioning of relationships, it utilises a bumbling fun song structure to dig into weekly issues.  It’s this song structure that makes everything Lahey does work so well. She’s far from the first to write a song that delves seep into the listener’s psych, especially in the coming of age period, but much like The Wombats did a decade ago, she’s done it in a way that is fun to engage in. Near every song is not only a solid, ‘rock’ track (for lack of a better word) but near all are also just good fun to have a dance to. Despite the naming of the track, this is clearest in I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself.  The chirpy chorus reflects on her problems but the lyrics themselves are quite deep. There is a reflection of her habits that are so easy to connect with. “When I walk past shiny surfaces I don’t like being me” she sings, and it’s hard not to recognise myself in a similar boat. Lahey delivers these lines with an honesty that is unashamedly about her on experiences, but it’s that honesty that makes them so great. In many ways, I Love You Like a Brother is the musical rendition of a drunken 2 am emotions but with an eloquence mere mortals can only dream of.

The hardest part of I Love You Like a Brother is the seeming gluttony of perfectly written lines. On B-Grade University it took a few listens to catch a gist of her intent. Here, with a release double the songs in length, a certain amount more effort is required. The outcome of this is that there is a sense of reward every time you find a line that sings to you personally. Sure, everyone has had bad breakups, but the idea of a location almost being tarnished by that is one that can be hard to describe. Yet, in Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder Lahey writes in a way that can be casually enjoyed even if you miss that perfect niche that it discusses. If you are one of those who connect with the piece as intended, it becomes a track that could mean the world. This is a feeling that is repeated through the album time and time again to various extents, highlighting what Lahey does best She retells her stories in a way only the best storytellers can. She turns her anecdotes into something that can be mulled over and studied for years to come.
 


 

If a fault in the album has to be found, it is that the songs are remarkably similar once you stop listening to the lyrics. It’s not repetition as much as it is a case of homogeneity. They are all expertly produced, well written, and entertaining, but they are also all a bit…the same? It’s true that with every listen a different song, or different line will stand out. But that desire for more does exist. In many ways I Love You Like a Brother plays out more like a book to be read in its flow, but that ultimately could be its strength. Its steady structure eases you into the experience, allowing a level of comfort to be found around the subject matter. It’s the gateway into Alex Lahey’s mind and experiences, and it’s there to teach you a wealth of life lessons if you are willing to engage. 

I Love You Like a Brother is an album that we’ll put on repeat – and so should you – and if you find yourself doing that, make sure you catch her on tour this month.

Ayden Measham-Pywell

Tallest kid at every gig // Questionable dancer at best // twitter/instagram: ayds_on_toast