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Lake Street Dive, Good Together Review

by Amity HereweardJune 26, 2024

 Lake Street Dive, Good Together Review

by Amity Hereweard

Lake-Street-Dive-cdLake Street Dive have consistently pushed the boundaries of pop music, blending soul, folk, jazz, and classic pop into a unique sound. Their latest album, Good Together, exemplifies this eclectic mix while addressing modern societal challenges. The band’s lineup—vocalist Rachael Price, bassist/background vocalist Bridget Kearney, drummer/background vocalist Mike Calabrese, keyboardist/vocalist Akie Bermiss, and guitarist/background vocalist James Cornelison—brings a renewed sense of purpose and a message of “joyful rebellion” to this project.

The creation of Good Together marked a significant departure from the band’s previous songwriting process. For the first time, they collaborated in the initial stages of songwriting, working together at Calabrese’s home studio in Vermont. This intimate and collaborative approach resulted in a profoundly personal and musically expansive album. The band’s use of a 20-sided die to dictate chords, meter, and tempo added an element of spontaneity and creativity, pushing them into new musical territories.

The album opens with the radiant synth of its title track, “Good Together,” a duet between Bermiss and Price. ThisLake-Street-Dive-1 track, born from a happy accident with a dice roll, celebrates the thrill of defying expectations and following one’s heart. The horn section from the Brooklyn-based jazz band Huntertones adds a vibrant layer to the song, making it an exultant anthem of unity and love.

“Dance with a Stranger” continues this connection and communal uplift theme. Inspired by Kearney’s experience at a square dance in Kingston, New York, the song captures the joy of dancing with strangers from different walks of life. The lush grooves, glistening textures, and exuberant vocals create a euphoric atmosphere, encouraging listeners to embrace empathy and togetherness.

The introspective “Walking Uphill” takes a different turn, delving into self-repair’s personal struggles and triumphs. Price’s vocals shift exquisitely between raw and smooth tones, capturing the intensity and catharsis of personal growth. The song’s gritty yet beautiful sound reflects the idea of toil turning into something meaningful.

“Seats at the Bar,” a luminous and summery track, adds a playful twist to the classic love song. Calabrese’s lyrics about bucking trends and enjoying simple pleasures with his wife are set to tropicália-esque rhythms and breezy percussion. The result is a sweetly playful tune that embodies the album’s spirit of joyful rebellion.

“Twenty-Five” is a stark and lovely ballad, steeped in tender reminiscence of a past romance. Accompanied only by Bermiss’ understated piano, Price’s vocals convey the bittersweet essence of a love that lingers despite its brevity. This song ties into the album’s overarching theme of enduring love amidst life’s challenges.

The album’s diversity in sound is further showcased in tracks like “Better Not Tell You,” a ’70s-funk-inspired dance track with a narrative twist from Macbeth, and “Far Gone,” a bouncy piece of psych-rock addressing our addiction to technology. The dreamlike “Set Sail (Prometheus & Eros)” closes the album with grandeur, featuring a spellbinding string arrangement by Rob Moose.

Throughout Good Together, Lake Street Dive demonstrates their immense musicality and expressive imagination. The album’s production, handled by Grammy-winning producer Mike Elizondo, captures the band’s dynamic range and intricate harmonies. Each track showcases the band’s ability to blend various stylistic influences into a cohesive and compelling whole.

Lake-Street-Dive-2Despite its eclectic sound, Good Together maintains a consistent message of resilience and hope. The recurring motif of joy as a sustaining force shines through, reminding listeners of the enduring power of love and connection. Lake Street Dive’s artistry and effusive sense of togetherness create an album that reflects their skills as musicians and storytellers. Good Together will resonate with listeners of all backgrounds with its infectious melodies, soulful vocals, and poignant lyricism. It invites us to take our joy seriously and find strength in unity, making it a powerful and uplifting addition to the band’s discography.

 

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