Photo Courtesy of Lacquer
Article Written by David Hall
Lacquer, a Tennessee based five-piece, displays a self-assured sound and a meticulous eye for sonic detail rare among new bands on their self-titled debut EP. “All Headlights” is the first song on the record and leaves no mystery about what kind of record this is. It’s a rock album, a heavy one in both sound and subject matter.
Quiet, clean electric guitar imposed with thoughtful lyrics just vague enough to leave some mystery gives way to loud, cathartic fuzz. It’s almost as if songwriter Micah Mathewson is relishing in sorrowful memories and experiencing that sweet sadness turn to anger and frustration in real time. This oscillation between these two moods continues on for most of the record, most prominently on “Green,” the lead single from the EP.
Lots of rock bands are trying too hard to sound like they don’t care. Sloppy, lo-fi rock still dominates the scene and too often it reveals a childish insecurity about their sound that can quickly ruin any record. Lacquer’s attention to detail, whether it be the cavernous backing vocals or atmospheric guitar tone, cues listeners in on the fact that they’re born try-hards. They simultaneously craft a sound that feels different from a lot of bands and takes a dig at the scene they occupy. Confidence, when backed by substance, tends to lend to success.
Whenever we talk about guitar-based music now, and especially indie rock, inevitably the conversation drifts to the current identity crisis within the genre. Indie rock has always leaned towards self reflective rather than political and the best of it usually tends to revolve around the ability to achieve intimacy between its makers and its audience. It’s also usually dominated by white men, as it is here. Perhaps that’s why indie rock struggles to find a place in the hyper-political and increasingly diverse era we inhabit. Either way, good tunes that are relatable still continue to find their niche, and Lacquer seems capable of carving out their own.