Review By DAN MACINTOSH
The Regrettes, a (mostly) all-girl Los Angeles rock band, mix a lot of great musical stuff together on How Do You Love?
Los Angeles has historically been a fertile breeding ground for female-centric Rock N Roll, what with The Go-Go’s and Bangles, just to name a couple handy examples. The band has been called a punk music group, although there’s so much more to this band’s sound than merely simplistic rave-ups. How Do You Love? the act’s second full-length, is a noisily honest statement of purpose, with sonic variety to spare.
Lydia Night is the group’s lead singer, and this album plays out, at times, like her self-narrated audiobook diary. Although loud and angry are two descriptive words that often come to mind when this album plays, the project begins with “Are You In Love? (Intro),” an unlikely spoken word meditation on discerning whether or not a person is truly in love. One called “I Dare You,” owes more to The Strokes (owes a lot, in fact), than anything from the act’s Los Angeles backyard. With its ringing electric guitar groove and handclapped rhythm, it at times come off as Julian Casablancas suffering from a temporary bout of gender dysphoria. If you love The Strokes, you’ll have difficulty resisting loving this track.
“Fog” piles on the layered female vocal harmonies during its chorus, while Night gives the lead singing a bit of a Joan Jett kick. “Pumpkin” allows Night to express the softer side of her vocal range. The latter’s lyrics highlight the push and pull between experiencing romantic love, while also fighting against it. “I used to think that Romeo was full of shit,” Night exclaims, before admitting, “The Notebook [a romantic drama] was just my favorite chick flick.” She hates playing the love game, but it keeps sucking her into its vortex — seemingly against her will.
This album’s title track is also one of its punkiest on the CD. Driven by a speedy rhythm, Night draws from another Los Angeles punk icon – Exene Cervenka of X – for her exasperated vocal tone. “Here You Go” reveals yet another influence, as its percussion part is a dead ringer for The Cure’s “Close to Me.”
Sample lyrics from “The Game” sum Night’s confused perspective best. “All these rules seem so fuckin’ dated/I’m a hypocrite ‘cause, yeah, the game, I play it.” She hates the game of love. She sings songs describing her hatred of the crazy expectations placed upon relationships. And yet, she still plays the game. We all do. This doesn’t make us bad people. Maybe we just don’t know any better.
The Regrettes music is heartening because we’re reminded that we’re not alone in the Bermuda Triangle known as love and romance. So, how do you love? Well, that’s likely a question we’ll take to the grave unanswered. However, nobody asks it with more confusion and spunk than The Regrettes.