Alex Lahey is quite easy to pigeonhole in many ways. Her likeness for compatriot Courtney Barnett is not reserved to her nationaility – her quick wit and ability to add humour to every moment, tragic or otherwise, leaves her in a very specific category. She’s of a certain age, she’s a she and it’s easy to start becoming stereotypical to her sound. Couple this with her ear for a melody, a humanity and caring to her work, but most, most importantly her honesty is what sets her apart. B-Grade University, her latest EP out on Dead Oceans right now only adds to this assumption.
The route for many serious songwriters is to create complex and constructed realisms to try to peddle to an over saturated audience. A host of similes and metaphors wrapped up in a few needless lead lines for ‘layering’, sprinkle in flecks of an ‘anti-chorus’ and you have yourself a sure fire way to intellectually stimulate a student but bore the rest of Britain.
Simply put Alex Lahey does the simple things correctly, effortlessly and fucking brilliantly. ‘Ivy League’ the first track on her latest EP B-Grade University comes flying out the traps as a funk filled charming track of self-deprecation. It sets the tone of the piece and feels genuine, golden and with more smirk than a 90’s sitcom.
What follows is the track that brought Alex Lahey to the attention of Far Out Magazine, the anthemic ‘Let’s Go Out’ has the swagger of an entire festival in every line of adolescent angst. Its down tools mantra is enough to rile any pub, but more importantly it rings of truth. ‘Wes Anderson’ follows a more love letter line of thought. Feeling like the indie version of a snake charmers song this track has the lilting notes of a lullaby with the added jagged realism of the ritualistic nature of modernity – all mixed for your sonic pleasure.
When the more highly charged ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ is electrifying in comparison to the aforementioned. Brimming with the unjust scowl of Lahey, it centres on a relationship unable to move on from a few simple truths. ‘L-L-L-Leave Me Alone’ has that sought after essence needed in the final track of an album and that is resolution.
The title of the track speaks for itself, and does so against a twanging indie guitar which noodles at all the right points but stays enough in the background to highlight the wry simplicity and knowing nonchalance of Lahey’s writing.
That’s Lahey’s pigeonhole. Her incredible lyricism is given more time to shine on her simple slacker-pop and because of it her place is set. Lucky for Lahey her place is at a very exclsuive table. She’s an incredible songwriter. Her ability to combine veracious lyricism with melodies like honey and add on top of that her underlying vocal talent and she may just be the full package.
B-Grade University is out now on Dead Oceans