Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up

Nonesuch Records

-out May 4

3.5 / 5


Lake Street Dive has come a long way from the dives they (and streetcorners) they’ve performed on. Former Bostonites and now current New Yorkers (no bitterness here!), the quartet digs into a groove similar to their 2014 Bad Self Portraits, a groove of jazzy quartet with pop tendencies and non-standard song choices. Their latest Free Yourself Up hits upon their more whimsical notes (lyrically) in common with 2016’s Side Pony, but it’s in Bad Self Portraits‘ sound where they find their more familiar ground. And that’s what this album is: familiar. It’s a second attempt at 2014, the album that knocked a home-run so far out of the park they probably hit a few seagulls and some dude’s car along the way. This album, then, is the same kind of swing, but not quite the homerun we (and perhaps they) were expecting.

It’s difficult to put our finger on what made Bad Self Portraits an enduring album to us, while Free Yourself Up feels the lesser of their offspring, but all the tracks on the former album are, quite simply, brilliant: memorable, singable, fun and entertaining. This latest has its ups and downs, more ups than downs, thankfully, but only a few of these songs really stick out to us. The first, of course, is “Good Kisser,” which is soon to be (if not already) drowning out your nearby radio. Rachael Price’s power vocals seem to push the song to the limits, but really, it’s the weird premise and open songwriting that really brings this one home. Another one we’re going to point out is “Dude,” which is a cheeky and insightful take on those “broderino” relationships that drown out the romantic ones. “Musta Been Something” is a near-miss, but doesn’t feel written quite up to par of the other songs, and is rather repetitive; another such one is the opener “Baby, Don’t Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts,” which digs right into their classic and gorgeous jazz groove, but the bridge does… we’re not sure what. A weird grungy something. The other songs on here are rather good, but again, tend to fade away even after a few plays.

Free Yourself Up is a much-anticipated album that won’t disappoint the fans who greatly anticipate it; but yet, it’s a short (not far) cry from Bad Self Portraits, which needs NEEDS to be in your collection. Recommended nonetheless.


Check out their website and some amazing videos.

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