Bobby’s WLFC Weekly Review

By Bobby Beebe

In the summer of 2015 New York indie rock band LVL Up tweeted, “Getting some truly evil vibes on the new album.” About a year and a half later that new album has arrived. While LVL Up’s Sub-Pop debut, Return to Love may not sound evil, exactly, it certainly feels spooky like a ghost story or playing with an Ouija Board. The album is centered on a sort of spiritual journey, but not necessarily a religious one. LVL Up seem to be summoning spirits that they don’t quite understand, singing on “Five Men on the Ridge,” “Spirit ride, I’m on your side/But I saw fire in the woods last night.” This seems to symbolize a sort of questioning that comes with growing up. This is something LVL Up is certainly experiencing, Return to Love is far more polished and cryptic than their 2014 heart-on-sleeve break-up album Hoodwink’d. The band has also made a giant leap in a sense of scope, Return to Love is their first record that they did put out themselves, they put it out on perhaps the most influential indie label ever. You can hear the heightened sense of responsibility everywhere on the record. From the intricate layering of guitar sounds fusing punk sentiments and psychedelia in songs like “Pain” and “Spirit Was,” to the movement away from angst in favor of natural and spiritual imagery on “Cut from the Vine” and “Naked in the River with the Creator,” all of which allows the songs to transcend being simply aural to evoke the visual and tactical senses. Return to Love is LVL Up at their most realized and cohesive, an album that follows in the footsteps of its Sup-Pop predecessors as smart, compelling and fun.

1. Angel Olsen – My Woman

2. The Weekenders – Bright Silence of Night

3. Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being

4. Twin Peaks – Down In Heaven

5. The Avett Brothers – True Sadness

6. Japanese Breakfast – Psychopomp

7. Local Natives – Sunlit Youth

8. Violent Soho – Waco

9. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

10. Wilco – Wilco Shmilco

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