New Music | Friday Roll Out: Lewis, Okay Lindon, Lost Girls

This isn’t Ohio’s Okay Lindon’s first foray into music and I’m hard pressed trying to understand what’s going on here. Art collective? Pop band?  Lo-fi enthusiasts? The band’s latest offering, Passion Pain (Poptek), seems to capture all of that within, although I’m still not quite sure what the band’s definitive mission is. It opens with a morose “Something About That Name,” filled with background hiss, strings, bells, and keys with the occasional soaring vocals. “Temporary Blindness” contains that same background hiss but this time the band’s instrumentation shifts with guitar, percussion, and strings on this low key majestic pop. The artsy nature of the group may just get the best of it, as it slips across melodic sweetness but tries to mask it with odd notes and background noise on “Certainty.” I get what the band is doing on “Pain Is Lonely,” a pop tune playing with odd instrumentation but never relinquishing its core base. I can appreciate what the band is doing here but if the band let its penchant for pop shine without any distractions, imagine the possibilities.

Norway’s Lost Girls (Jenny Hval and Håvard Volden) is no stranger to music, creating sonic sculptures out of what sounds like an array of electronic and analog instruments. Although the band has been collaborating for more than a decade, the first Lost Girls release, Menneskekollektivet, came in 2021. Two years later, they’ve released the new Selvutsletter (Smalltown Supersound), a made up Norwegian word that apparently almost exists. Songs are beautifully sculpted together as Hval coos across these tracks. Songs are soothing and challenging at every turn, whether it’s the sparce edginess of opener “Timed Intervals” or the post-punk fervor of “Ruins.”


Today, the Los Angeles outfit Lewis, led by songwriter Christopher Lewis, releases its sophomore full-length album, Growing Pains. While the album stirs a variety of emotions, it doesn’t seem every song on the 13-track release strikes with a strengthened and powerful punch, but also occasionally lacks strong songwriting. I’m getting ahead of myself here so let me backtrack a bit.

Growing Pains isn’t for everyone, and the opening track “Bridge Burner” isn’t one of the band’s best tracks. As cheap as some comparisons can be, it’s reminiscent of slower dirges popularized by R.E.M. Its jangly guitar work is what’s most notable but while the track may not be the band’s best work, the album isn’t without its own stellar moments. Literally, “Based On A New Story” moves things along beyond expectations with sonically challenging guitars colliding intergalactically, while Lewis’ lead vocal is accentuated by vocal harmonies. But it’s “I’m Not Cursed,” which opens with 60s-like nostalgia that’s catchy AF. Its own layered chorus really is a thing of beauty. Although the band can intricately layer its instruments in a way that makes it a powerful player in the game, it sometimes moves back to moments where it’s stuck living between past comparatives and finding its own way on “Meet You Where You Are.” The rhythm makes way for Lewis’ vocals as it joins forces eloquently but it is still reminiscent of, well, you know.

There’s redemption throughout though, and the spacey “Trouble Again” offers that. Swirling guitars around the rhythm here and Lewis seems to change things up with his effected vocal, but it all fits right into place. The track comes across like a jam session the band completely cuts loose on. It’s hypnotic and astounding! It’s followed by “The Outside,” a somewhat Americana-esque joint that plays a bit with dynamics. Crunchy guitars and the song’s poignant rhythm seem to be wrapped around a deserty landscape. We can all appreciate it and Lewis’ way of doing things its own way. Even “Longest Day Of The Year,” falling between dusty trails and interstellar travel musically, fascinates with building crescendos and shifting dynamics. It moves at a mid-tempo pace with a catchy melody that sinks its hooks right in.

Growing Pains is a complicated album and when it hits its punch is forceful and direct. It’s mired with a few numbers that could have been put to the side so we could focus on the band’s shining moments. There’s no doubt that Lewis is capable of being spectacular but you have to wade through swampy waters before finding that paradise here.