New Jersey’s Lunch Ladies explore dark places on their beautifully melancholic debut LP, Down on Sunset Strip, out now via Good Eye Records. Opening track ‘Sunshine,’ with sweeping, wet guitars overlaid with vocalist Cynthia Rittenbach’s vulnerable and cautiously optimistic phrases, makes it immediately clear that the dream pop four-piece have crafted a seriously introspective album. What comes next is an exploration of depressed resignation, that stuck-in-a-rut feeling and a thoughtful look at a future that might be better.
As Down on Sunset Strip moves to it’s second track, ‘You’re Not There,’ drummer Peter Gargano picks up the groove to accommodate shoegaze guitar riffs that ring out amid the other reverb-laden instruments. When we make it to ‘Love Is Overrated,’ the album’s lead single which Zooey Deschanel called “the perfect jam for all us happily single people on Valentine’s Day,” Rittenbach channels Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino for a banger that’s just as moody as it is danceable – a wonderful song to dance alone to in your room.
The four-piece Jersey natives are a young band, having only released their first demos in late 2015, but they hit a nerve on songs like “Sad Jeans” and perhaps their most upbeat and ironically named track on the album, ‘Lazy.’ More than that, Down on Sunset Strip is an exceedingly satisfying album for a seven song debut. On my first listen, I started off sitting with my laptop and soon found myself getting up, dusting off counters, finding things to do as the album picks up both in liveliness and hopefulness.
By the time we arrive at track six, ‘Bumming Too Much,’ Lunch Ladies are showing off their punk influence as thick guitar leads run wild over a picked-up rhythm section and they finish off the album by taking us on a shoegaze rollercoaster with ‘Pick Yourself Up.’
It’s an album that makes you want to take charge over your life, but first to take all the alone time you need to figure out what that means. But while feelings are abundant on the LP, recorded over a year ago in Redbank, New Jersey, it would be remiss to describe it as sad music. Down on Sunset Strip might be a case study not in feeling down, but in learning how to carry on and figure out who or what are most important. It’s the kind of album you want to listen to alone or with the people who mean the most to you. With it, Lunch Ladies make a strong debut and prove themselves a band to watch in 2017.
Release Show Event Page Link: Do Something Right
Stream Down on Sunset Strip below: