Members of the following bands appear on The Ladybug Transistor’s new record: Aislers Set, Architecture In Helsinki, The Clientele, Currituck Co., Circulatory System, Great Lakes, Instruments, Jazz Passengers, Lounge Lizards, and Vetiver. Oh, and Jens Lekman pops his lonely head in. A couple of those are the same people, mind you. Officially listed as being in The Ladybug Transistor are ‘friends’ followed by an ellipsis. Incestuous as collectives can theoretically get, sometimes—the last Broken Social Scene album for instance—pop music gets run through the shredder and a new language is invented. The Ladybug Transistor actually started as a collective, functioned as a proper band for a while, then circled back to elicit a little help from their friends. Can’t Wait Another Day further hones the pop classicism that the band mastered during a lovely little three-album cycle: The Albemarle Sound, Argyle Heir and The Ladybug Transistor from 1999 to 2003.
It’s also one of those records easily mistaken for the sound of, y’know, settling. Certain bands progress with different degrees of subtlety—all the records by The Clientele, for instance, to cite one of Ladybug’s more obvious contemporaries, have been what we in the biz (!) call growers, gaining drama and definition that on the first several trips through came off as sameness, a status that was very quo. Can’t Wait Another Day falls into that category because it’s simple music, simply written and played, the reality of which obscures the fact that it’s easier to get wrong.
Garnishes of Wurlitzer, electric piano and 12-string guitar dress up songs like the melancholy single “Here Comes The Rain,” on which Lekman sings backup, in varying stages of esoterica. “Three Days From Now” creates a “Kumbaya”-style choral atmosphere while talking about sitting and waiting in the Denver sprawl, of all places—”ask me how I am three days from now” There are the usual references to getting out and getting laid which Gary Olson delivers in one of those nonplussed baritones that suggests he’d rather do more of the former, frankly. “The boys in this town only seem to want to fight,” he sighs on “This Old Chase,” “I think I need some time away.” Then there’s the fingerpicked ballad “So Blind” which regrets a fallen lover with hair pushed away from a face (“forgot to mention that the gun was loaded“) but collects itself with a spirit that bends in the first verse without breaking by song’s end. For all the exhaustion, the album’s content mostly belies the title, finding hope for itself in wafts of nostalgic popdoodle.