I’ve had some open and honest reservations about Bloodshot Records’ cowpunk princess Lydia Loveless over her short career, it’s true, but while always appreciating her spunk and energy and style, and her ability to land comedic punches in her verses like few others. Lydia is a fun artist, that can’t be denied. It’s just that some of the accolades seemed to come to Lydia a little bit premature, and some of the rock & roll attitude felt outmoded compared to the genuineness that many artists in the recent roots revolution exhibit, both through their music and on stage.
Lydia’s 2011 Indestructible Machine seemed to take a little too much pleasure in her self-destructive tendencies, and though her singing and sonic style showed much promise, it still felt like it was searching for its proper place. No doubt there was more good than bad, but there were just a few hangups keeping me from entering full fledged fandom.
Ahead of a new full-length album promised from Lydia in 2014 is a quick little EP called Boy Crazy. Though I have no specific intel telling me so, in my mind I envision Lydia getting ready to finish her new album, having a few too many songs, and seeing how these five selections fit so well together, deciding to release them this way. Whether that’s true or not, the songs of Boy Crazy all do work well together to the point where they equal a sum greater than their parts and may be diminished if they were orphaned from each other. This is important, because it answers the question every artist thinking about the EP route must answer, which is “Why release an EP if an LP will be better?”
Boy Crazy is a straight ahead power pop album with punkish and country undertones that draws you right in with it’s juicy hooks and melodies, witty lyrics, fun themes, and general good-timedness. Any wonkiness from Lydia trying to find her sound has slipped away for tight grooves and cunning, infectious arrangements that if anything are almost too accessible, making you wonder if it’s okay to get so deep into this music, or if it should be considered a guilty pleasure.
Both the “Boy” and “Crazy” of the title are important here, because the five songs of this EP are all love songs of one version or another, but told through Lydia’s signature skewed, unsettled, and sometimes substance-altered vision of reality. You get the picture that Lydia’s version of love is just as much swinging fists and shattered windows as it is serenades, but she’s also not afraid to show her sweet and vulnerable sides. Boy Crazy comes across as powerfully sincere in places, especially in the concluding track, “The Water,” while the ultra-infectious “Lover’s Spat” is a crazy-eyed donnybrook of love gone mad with a punk soundtrack. “All I Know” and “All The Time” are significantly more sensible, but just as engaging, and “Boy Crazy” is anthemic in how it rises and draws you in.
This Boy Crazy EP is what it is—a quick little album with some cool, charming songs with a loose theme holding them all together. Some trepidation remains for Lydia on my part, but maybe most importantly with this EP is it really wets your appetite for what Lydia might have coming with her new full-length project.
Fun little album.
1 ¾ of 2 guns up.
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