The Losing Score – ‘Learn To Let This Go’

By Andy Joice

Closing their 2020 EP, ‘Closed For Season’, with the line, “That was the most honest response I’ve ever had towards death”, you could be forgiven for thinking The Losing Score take themselves too seriously. But keen listeners know that couldn’t be farther from the truth, with light-hearted levity being an important weapon in their arsenal; there aren’t many bands who have written a Batman themed Christmas song that touches on flu-based anxiety or drowning in ‘Alphabet Soup’.

It’s this balance of marrying weightier subject with a tongue and cheek attitude that has garnered them fans across the globe, as well as releasing their debut LP, ‘Learn To Let This Go’ with Counter Intuitive Records, a label that has nurtured bands like Mom Jeans, Prince Daddy And The Hyena, and Rozwell Kid.

Opening with ‘’Maybe If I Learn To Let This Go’, there’s a very clear improvement on their 2020 EP. Everything feels tighter, the instrumentation is well balanced, and there are plenty of subtle flourishes that give a more rounded sound. Vocally, Brodie Normandin’s performance is still as distinctive as ever, bouncing between achingly fragile and effortlessly strong. Harmonies on the chorus line of “breathing slowly till I learn to let this go” from drummer Jack Smith add a layer of diversity to Normandin’s crips voice, as if an echo of his inner monologue.

Lead single ‘Peachy Keen, Avril Lavigne’, a direct reference to Community, deals with the difficulty of living in your own skin. The chorus of, “I care too much to give up living this façade/ But maybe I’m just too scared to know where to start” hits with the weight of a thousand bricks, particularly resonate with those of us who flex to be who others want us to be, hiding in fake skin and a mask instead of standing strong and proud.

‘Vacant’ and ‘Junk Sleep’ both discuss depression in varying degrees. Gang vocals sporadically placed dichotomise the sense of loneliness emitted from Normandin’s vocals in ‘Junk Sleep’, while ‘Vacant’ deals with the impact depression has on relationships with loved ones, in both an empathetic and apathetic way from opposing perspectives. If there’s one thing The Losing Score nail, it’s the balance of tiptoeing subtly and squarely painting their intentions.

‘Dream Of You’ is a touching love song, the line, “When you sleep, do you dream of me / The way that I dream of you?” painting pictures of a serene, youthful adoration that many thrive for. Featuring harmonies in the bridge, it’s as layered as a club sandwich and adds additional weight to already poignant words.

Perhaps the most classically punk, ‘Delightfully Devilish’ features rapid rhythm sections (particularly Smith’s drumming), the occasional harmonic pinch, and gang vocals to close out the track. ‘Crawl’ swiftly follows, maintaining the tempo nicely. As Normandin broaches gender norms, the instrumentation builds to a climax before stripping back and allowing the vocals to shine through in the closing verse.

Closing track ‘Calm Before The Storm’ reflects on memories and nostalgia and how they probably weren’t as fantastic as remembered. The introspection feels very measured and accompanied by a more delicate backing, it’s a far more restrained close than might have been expected. Callum McIntyre’s subtly intricate bassline carries the track, allowing the focus to be on the total package as the tempo increases in the closing parts. It’s a bold strategy to go out in this way but its refinement feels deliberate and methodical, and works pretty perfectly, incorporating all the elements that make The Losing Score such an enjoyable act.

As a debut album, the progression from their EP is exceptional. With stacks more layers, depth and introspection, it’s a clear sign that The Losing Score, in spite of their lighthearted ways, take their music seriously. Similar to Michael Cera Palin and Prince Daddy in their delivery, their balance and carefuly craftsmanship has allowed for an album that’s both relatable and tongue in cheek in the same breathe. ‘Learn To Let This Go’ is a must listen to fans of Michael Cera Palin and Prince Daddy, and deserves repeated listens throughout the summer.

ANDY JOICE

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