Review by Shannon Shumaker
The opening notes of “Always Never,” the first track on Lee Corey Oswald’s new full-length, Regards are gorgeous - just enough to hook me in the first few seconds. They’re soft, possibly even verging on folky, then it progresses immediately into an almost Weezer sounding guitar part, and by then, they’ve definitely captured my attention. By the time “Always Never” fades into “Living Room,” the second track on the album, I’m excited to hear what this unique band has to offer.
It’s very apparent within the first few tracks of Regards that Lee Corey Oswald know exactly what it is that they want to do with their music. Their sound is a really interesting mix of indie and punk, two genres that normally wouldn’t mesh well together, but they manage to pull it off seamlessly. It’s fast paced in the guitars and heavily bass driven, but the vocals are softer - just the perfect clash of the two genres. The lyricism is definitely one of the high points on Regards, too. After hearing a song only once (especially “Progress” which is simple, yet catchy) it’s easy for the words to get stuck in your head and ultimately, that’s what matters. Regards is just an album that sticks.
Regards is just easy to bob your head along with, even if you’ve never listened to Lee Corey Oswald before. While the easy, mellow pacing of most of their songs is catchy though, it makes some of the songs blend together or sound the same. That, however, is my only real gripe with this album, and it is quickly forgotten when the vocals come in and really make each individual song shine. “Soda and Cigarettes” is a great example of a stand-out track, with just keyboard and vocals. It’s pretty and simple, but it’s a great interlude from the rest of the album and really helps separate one song from another while also showcasing Lee Corey Oswald’s versatility and songwriting abilities. Just when I thought that I had Regards completely figured out, this song came along and caught me off guard. The title track follows right after “Soda and Cigarettes” and is a perfect follow up. The distorted guitar part in the beginning of the song is interesting and catches your attention, and the rest of the song keeps that same strength all the way through.
Another great “interlude” track is “Sarah, Work is a Four Letter Word.” This acoustic track is almost folky and it’s just what Regards needed to shake things up, and once again, the vocals and harmonies in this track are gorgeous. Regards really starts to wind down in the four tracks following “Sarah…” and I couldn’t have asked for a better way for the album to end. It’s always nice when a band knows how to end an album in just the right way; leaving you wanting more while also providing you with a good closing track, and Lee Corey Oswald do exactly that with Regards. This album is the perfect mix of folk and punk - Lee Corey Oswald have definitely managed to craft their own unique sound with Regards.
Listen to "Living Room"