Restorations – LP5000

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews


LP5000 - Tiny Engines Records

The return of Philadelphia rockers Restorations to Tiny Engines Records is a tale of great success for both the band and label.  In their infancy, Restorations debuted on Tiny Engines Records.  At the time it was a time a part-time label project run by the highly industrious BearTrap PR crew.  In subsequent years the label eclipsed the PR company and transformed into an indie safe haven for up and comers that have fared surprisingly well even amongst the harshest of critics like the Pitchfork scene.  

Meanwhile, Restorations jumped around the punk circuit until they landed on the reputable SideOneDummy Records for their next two full lengths.  But when SideOneDummy Records mysteriously released active bands earlier this year and turned to releasing retrospective albums, the signs pointed to Restorations needing to find a new home.  But by this time both Restorations and Tiny Engines Records had long since eclipsed their early starts, so a fresh reunion for the band’s fourth full length wasn’t just a safe return, but matched the new highs of both parties.

Marking the return is Restorations’ latest full length, LP5000.  A play on the band’s generically named LP1, LP2, and LP3, the band departs from their naming conventions while further advancing their sound.  The band’s bar rock tendencies continue their evolution into the careful, complex essence they have come to know so well.  Jon Loudon’s eloquent vocals command the room with sophistication, mirroring many of the subtle expressive qualities akin to Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady).  Opener “St.” is a welcome mid-tempo tune that bridges the four year gap between albums without a hitch.  The track aligns with “Remains” in that there’s a certain Gaslight Anthem-ness in turning to nostalgia to look to the future.  “Nonbeliever” veers aside with a lighter, more jangly sound that outside of the chorus, feels a little like math-rock.  The song glows with an intuitive heart, ripe with emotion as Loudon lays down the track’s final thought, repeating the line, “and you’re running, out of things to give away.”  “Melt” stands as the song’s sonic brethren in a way that would be almost twinkly if it wasn’t for the thickly distorted bass work.

The album ends on a careful, reflective note.  “Caretaker” is quiet in a steady spoken word delivery.  With a reliable beat and light notes the song grows into itself cautiously, always personal and as if preaching directly to listeners.  Follow-up “Eye” embraces the same level of intimacy, layering on melody in layers starting with electronic pulses and melodic chirps. “It’s like a dream” repeats Loudon, before bursting beyond initial subtleties and into more abrasive ground for the final verse.  The final moments impart a strong impression upon the listener.

Overall, Restorations make their return to Tiny Engines Records a celebration, with the label welcoming them with open arms.  Just look at that album art – hands down the finest in the band’s library. At seven songs LP5000 is a slim full length, but a satisfying one at that.  The songs are highly refined and thoughtfully composed.  No one will be left feeling hungry. Who knows, maybe all the label drama may have even pushed the band forward in a test of resilience.  Regardless, fans that were anxiously awaiting the next course will eat LP5000 up.