The Regrettes have come a long way since their humble beginnings in 2015 as a punk band that released garage rock. American band The Regrettes, known for their honest lyrics, became popular with a series of guitar-driven albums that incorporated a smart, stylish mix of retro new wave and modern punk. Their records were met with youthful enthusiasm, but they also displayed a pop sensibility that could have been considered classicist, despite the punky, nervy energy that pulsated through them. The Regrettes’ scuzzy punk-punk-infused sophomore album ‘How Do you Love?’ was released in 2019. They have embraced their pop influences and entered what could be described as their take on Paramore’s ‘After Laughter era.
Their third album, “Further Joy,” has been described as “poppiest” and “danciest.” It is an album that contains a lot of deep anxiety and dark lyrics. This album will make you question your ability to dance. It can be seen as a guide on living in difficult times. The band shares personal songs that address topics such as anxiety, sexuality, and the brutalities of a relationship.
The album opens with Lydia Night’s evocative track “Anxieties Out of Time.” Night discusses her own anxiety experiences. The cheerful nursery rhyme opener has memorable hooks and an earworm with synths that move at a panicked speed, sonically capturing the feeling that you are running out of time. Through its example of immediateness through the jolting music, the track accurately captures anxiety’s physical symptoms. The track spirals and tightens with fraught. It leaves listeners with only a glimpse of life with a disorder. The topic turns into an exploration of existential crises and mental health, and the track takes you to an album full of raw honesty and eye-opening experiences.
The lead single, ‘Monday,’ continues to be a song about her anxiety struggles. Night wrote the song at the height of her disorder. Night described the poppy tune as a song of validation of her anxiety-related feelings. It also highlights the ideal yet achievable self that people can accept and that the album constantly pushes against through the music video character Joy. “Subtleties” (Never Giving up on You) touches on Night’s journey to self-acceptance. It is a beautiful and touching song but one of the darkest songs on the album. Despite its cheerful production, the Night continues to dance away the pain with this chilled-out number. Night discusses everything from anxiety and recurrent body dysmorphia and the juxtaposition of lyrics and production.
Although the subject matter may not be lighthearted, the album is still upbeat. The album’s penultimate song, “Nowhere,” draws inspiration from Alan – Watts. It then tackles feelings of inadequacy through social media. This garage-punk anthem perfectly captures the album’s message and the lessons that the band teaches. It tells the story of finding your happiness.
This sentiment echoes the famous quote by Alan Watts that plays over the opening notes of “Nowhere”: “You can’t live at any time unless you can fully live now.” Further Joy is an album grounded in the present and allows for all the elevated emotions of the now in glorious fullness. It seems that acceptance and ownership were crucial for the album’s success. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. At other times, it can feel like everything is perfect. These sensations are captured in their full intensity by the photographers.
The album’s lyrics are filled with anxiety and insecurity, but the songs manage to conceal those feelings behind catchy pop tunes. The Regrettes push their creative boundaries and edit their deepest feelings, resulting in a joyful and brutally honest record. The resounding message of ‘Further Joy,’ which oscillates between stripped-back pop and full-fledged rock, is optimistic. It acknowledges but refuses to be defined by the curveballs of life and the joy it brings. The album finds the band becoming more confident and united than ever. It is a record that is both lyrical in content and bright in tone.