Not that they ever really went away, but LKFFCT is BACK fellow Earthlings, or should I say, RTHLNGS. Yes, your favorite heavy hitting, vowel absent, North Jersey DIY kings have graced indie music lovers yet again with their 3rd full length release. Dawn Chorus is their most eclectic and well-structured album yet and it is exactly what a band’s junior effort should sound like. Developed, mature, and honest, the album beautifully encapsulates everything from the fear of lost love to the peace found in a simple walk down Bloomfield Ave. It is a modern reflection of the life of north jersey based twenty somethings living against the grain in the year 2017 AD.
LKFFCT has always been an inspiring, sarcastic, no-fucks-given band. Just ask the wild animal-like audiences who scream along to their songs, openly admitting they “probably smell like shit” at almost every show they play (referencing their early single “I Like U”). But Dawn Chorus is inspiring in a new way, a way in which the band has not shown us before. The veil of sarcasm and irony in which LKFFCT typically parades around is, for the most part, stripped away entirely throughout the course of this album. Really the only glimpse of the apathetic LKFFCT we have grown to know and love remains in the first two tracks; primarily in the opening song ‘Hatchling’. “Come and sit me down won’t you nurture me/ I don’t even care if you lecture me/ Someone sit me down for a cup of tea/ I don’t even care if you chastise me.” There is a yearning of some sort. Max Rauch (lead vocalist on the track) is looking to be comforted at any cost, searching for an answer to a non-existent question that sets the stage for the album to come. The Cobain-esque lyrics are sarcastic, yet they carry an introspectiveness, warning the listener that the band is about to lay down some honesty – without being entirely honest about it just yet.
As the album opens up, the cheerful and loving side of LKFFCT is revealed in their love song “Anesthesia.” Wait a second (WTSCND), LKFFCT, writing a blatantly poppy and innocent love song?! You mean to tell me that love exists? You mean to tell me that LKFFCT thinks love exists?! What a time to be alive! “We woke up at 8 am/ we laughed until 11”. There is something so comforting about the way in which this little moment in time between lovers is captured and is able to remind us that life isn’t all that bad after all. Max Rauch has a way with making the simple things powerful, just ask anyone who has joined his recently founded NJ SOUP GROUP on Facebook. The group forum has united New Jersey with a message that all can get behind – soup is love. Someone should really try to get this man in the Whitehouse.
But back to why we are here, Dawn Chorus (remember?). Get your mind off that lobster bisque you freak. “Sleeves,” yes “Sleeves.” The fourth song on the record, and maybe my favorite, being a man from a family with a history of divorce and having been through a number of lost relationships, I tend to relate heavily to the break up songs. So much for love. “I’m sorry darling/ forgot to tend our garden/ I’ve been guarded/ Afraid to be discarded.” Keith Williams (also a guitarist and songwriter) is saying that it is the fear of the loss of love that can lead us to actually losing love. It keeps us from being ourselves in a relationship and seeing what is actually right in front of our eyes. We forget to tend to our relationships because we are too busy worrying about what’s going to happen if we forget to tend them. It is also a really eloquent and memorable melody that I have been singing to myself since I first heard the song on a flight to Oklahoma with my current girlfriend. It’s been a reminder for me to enjoy our time together in the moment. So thanks Keith.
Wait, is this an album review or a therapy session? Pretty soon I’m going to start crying, so on to the rest of the album.
If Sleeves got you down, the 5th track, “Flavor,” is going to carry you forward, even if your head isn’t screwed on straight. Boasting possibly the best guitar riff on the record, the song does not have the optimism that you’re in need of after “Sleeves,” but it has enough energy from drummer Ryan Baredes and bassist Brian Legentil to push you through the lyrical existential dilemma. This track definitely captures their live energy, which is hard to do when you put on as good of a show as LKFFCT does.
As we get older, the people that we know and love pass away more frequently. It is just a fact of this life here on earth. So naturally, as the album progresses, “Starling” and “Bridget” arise, both odes to lost loved ones. Keith has said that “Bridget” is about his grandmother, but now I am wondering if “Starling” is as well. They are both very well written, emotional ballads to the likes in which I never thought I would hear from LKFFCT. They are heavy, but a very pleasant surprise. “Bridget” is especially great when they perform it live if you are ever lucky enough to catch them around (which you should).
As the album comes to a close, the listener is faced with two tracks that are very different from their previous status quo. “Punching Bag” and “Blue Jay” seem as though they are taken right out of Max Rauch’s personal journal and put into a song. It doesn’t seem right to try and analyze or explain these two tracks, so I suggest the listener take them as they are. I know as a songwriter, one can hesitate to open up about songs as personal as these two are, but I think this level of openness was exactly what Dawn Chorus needed to distinguish it from the rest of their discography.
LKFFCT has gifted the public. They are real, honest people, with real life joys and problems, and they have beautifully expressed their experiences in a way that most artists can only hope to one day be able to do. The garden of LKFFCT seems tended, nourished, mature, honest, and passionate, and I am lucky to call this group of musicians my friends. NOW GO LISTEN TO THE ALBUM IT’S ONLY $4.20 ON THEIR BANDCAMP BRUHHH YEEEEEET!
Dan is the full time samurai of Sniffling Indie Kid's Shred Flintstone as well as being formerly of Jean Pool.