Since forming in 2010, Lake Avenue has been doing what they love by sharing their music to the people. Over this time, a lot has happened, having released the EPs Midwest Ethics (2011), and You Can’t Take It With You (2013). It has also seen a change of band members as well as dealing with things that life throws at us. Now, Jason Douglas (vocals, guitar), Cory Bordson (drums, percussion), Samuel Hall (bass, vocals) and Aaron Shekey (guitar, vocals, keys) are back with a new album Hell or High Expectations.
Douglas explains “As our lineup and our goals changed. A few years back we took some time to focus on writing and try to get the most out of ourselves. We’ve been a band since 2010 and wanted this to be the best material we’ve ever released. Especially after time away. We were fortunate enough to work with our producer Colt Leeb. He allowed us to take the time we needed. As a result, we were able to get everything we wanted out of the album. Which is a luxury we hadn’t experienced before. It needed to be honest and compelling in a way that people can identify with. The range of sounds and styles on this record is the best representation of us making the music we want to hear and share.”
‘Hell of High Expectations’ feels like Lake Avenue has never been away
When you first listen to Hell or High Expectations, it is difficult not to notice the array of sounds that this band has created. “The Good in Evil” offers some rock americana, while “Sweet and Low” has some pop-punk elements. Then, they can slow things down with an honest emotion as “By Your Side” highlights. No matter the variation to their music, these guys never fail to deliver.
Lake Avenue has more to offer than just their music. They have an impressive vocalist whose range matches the various moods throughout the album. Most of the time Douglas is showcasing his infectious rock tone as shown during “Sweet and Low”. But, his talents shine the most when he slows things down to bring a captivating emotion. “Confessions” is a perfect example of this. Especially with its opening lines “Well this is my confession of everything I ever stole / Yea this is the ledger of every debt I owe”. To hear him at his best, wait until the track comes towards its end. The way he shares the chorus says so much.
“Colorblind” also highlights this talent and shows off the bands way with words. As the song begins the tempo switches. Then their tale begins with “Soft and slow the moments go before you lose and chase it / Down a road that we both know that all our time is wasted”. Their songwriting skills stand out with the depth within their story. They also know how to create a killer hook as “This is the last time I’ll try to find something behind your eyes / Love is a balance of dark and light / I look at you so colorblind” can testify.
One track that shows Lake Avenue at their best is “Way Back Home”. There is a warmth about its intro which is set up by the use of an acoustic guitar. Then the delicate emotive vocals by Douglas comes in with the lines “Packed up and headed East / She says she can’t wait till we meet again”. The band bring a grounded performance to match the mood of the story. In doing so, it gives the spotlight to this captivating story.
It is hard not to fall for the charm that this song delivers. Especially as the storytelling is captivating with lyrics have depth and provoke imagery. An example of this is the lines “And I’m scared I won’t see me again if I don’t find my way back home”. It summarises the feelings you get when you are away from home. With all that is going on within this track, the use of one word stands out the most. That longing to return to this special place is perfectly summarised during the chorus. It is done within the delivery of the word “Home”.
It is easy to hear why Lake Avenue are proud of what they have created with their new album. As they did not rush their work, it let their music grow naturally. As a result, it produced their best collection of songs to date.