Restorations are a stylistically hard band to pin down. To be glib I’ll say they play a type of classic rock influenced emo, with metal, indie, and post-hardcore flourishes. To me, the end result sounds something like a hybrid between the instrumentation of Fucked Up and the songwriting of The Menzingers. Take it for what you will, define it if you must, and then move on quickly. Restorations’ second full-length, aptly titled LP2, is a must-hear release that tests the elastic borders of what constitutes punk rock.
The simply titled “D” opens the album with reverb covered guitar notes that trill out for short eternities. Before long the spacey and expansive sound becomes more urgent. The moment I got hooked was right before the first verse, as the chiming indie rock guitar tones are pushed aside for a thick sounding, scale-running guitar lead ripped out of the annals of rock history. This opening covers the gamut of Restorations influences and therefore might be a viable litmus test for some listeners. As the solo fades, vocalist Jon Loudon wearily intones “I always looked at the clouds like continents, watched the cities shift around.” Restorations favor personal lyrics that tend toward the abstract and esoteric; the end result is a cumulative effect, as the emotional weight of the lyrics bleed through the vocal delivery and stand-out phrases hang in the air, the meaning is crystal.
The strummed power chord opening of “Let’s Blow Up The Sun” is undeniably punk, but with three guitarists, nothing stays so simple for long. Restorations intertwining fretwork is intricate, subtle, and always interesting; but that being said, in less controlled hands it could easily prove overwhelming, but restraint prevails and Restorations are able to craft an expansive, dense sound without ever lapsing into excess. This is all the more impressive considering their sound includes nods to stoner metal, blues rock, and 90s era Dischord experimentalism– it wouldn’t be too hard to get lost. “Kind Of Comfort” is one of those that features a more progressive edge, its piercing guitar leads reminiscent of Fugazi (possibly Restorations greatest punk influence) and “In Perpetuity Throughout The Universe” opens with a bluesy guitar riff and frequently indulges in ghostly guitar slides– but Loudon’s voice and the band’s subtle experimentalism anchor both songs, tieing disparate elements together with ease. Restorations’ greatest victory on LP2 is how cohesive they remain for its duration, despite how willfully broad their influences are.
Nobody else sounds like Restorations, but on LP2 they have established they are more than just a unique voice. The album is filled with the incredible songwriting, melodies, and lyricism that make a classic. LP2 is a gorgeous, lush musical experience that reminds us that punk rock is forever growing and forever changing.