By Khalea Robertson
Side Pony does everything an album title should. It perfectly encapsulates the mood and atmosphere of Lake Street Dive’s latest offering: fun, simple, doesn’t take itself too seriously and a throwback to an earlier time. (If you’re wondering what a side pony is, the clue is on the album cover).
The four-piece band, whose members are all graduates of the esteemed New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, has stuck to its guns in this album with its brand of 50’s/60’s pop infused with some soul – courtesy of lead singer Rachel Price’s honeyed vocals – and a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll. The album’s opener, Godawful Things, is a solid representation of that style, though a fairly unremarkable introduction. For this author, the real highlights occur when the sass is turned all the way up. One need not look any further than Spectacular Failure, an upbeat number which relates the sad tale of Bobby, a young man who seems to have bitten off more than he could chew when directing his attentions to the song’s narrator. It’s a one-two punch of pure sauciness, as the following tune I Don’t Care About You Anyway offers lyrical gems like ‘If you feel the urge to see me/Well, you best pretend you’re blind’ in a two-finger salute to a recent ex.
The rest of the album gently takes you on a breezy Sunday afternoon stroll of bold romantic come-ons, declarations of adventures to be had and mild self-pity (perhaps best expressed in Mistakes which features a lovely plaintive trumpet). Thankfully, LSD successfully manages to avoid the oversimplified tropes of love, heartbreak and one-night stands that permeate mainstream radio.
If you are looking for mind-blowing originality, this probably isn’t the album for you. But if something relaxed, witty, well packaged and ripe for bopping along to or busting out your Hairspray-esque dance moves sounds like your kind of party, Lake Street Dive’s Side Pony is definitely your cup of tea.
Image from lakestreetdive.com