Bands that search every corner to find the right musicians, right guitar tones and pour their hearts out in their lyrics are not rare, but I can’t say that they’re easy to find either. It’s been a while since I heard a touching record that has no dull moments like Lorelai by Belle and The Vertigo Waves. These Kansas-based rockers went through several lineup changes and local shows to be able to put themselves out there. After their debut record made its mark on the world in 2017, they are back with this 11-track opus, which is named after the German myth of Lorelai and serves as a cohesive and worthy sophomore to 2017’s Aligned. I will be giving a detailed description of every song here and the strongholds they possess, so buckle up and jam along. 

1- Pilot

The naming of the tracks here is nothing short of brilliant. Pilot is usually the title of the first episode of TV shows, and I believe they’re trying to tell us that the events that take place throughout the album’s lyrics are so intense like the content we are shown in television and movies. Music-wise, the track is a couple of synth lines that are interwoven into the beginning of the following track via crisp and polished production. 

2- Beat Me To The Punch

The drums here sound a lot like hard rock and pop rock, but the riffs are heavy and crushing on the other hand. It gives an all-around glam rock/hair metal feeling to it. The vocals are a mix of classic rock and angsty grunge, and they will definitely appeal to fans of Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless. I think I already get why the band describe themselves as both 80s rock and alternative rock at the same time. 

3- Stand Down

This one has pumping verses and a haunting chorus. It has a guitar solo that’s one of the best I’ve ever heard. But the vocalizing and high belts near the ending are the star of this song for sure. Kudos to the great Belle Loux for her impeccable articulation and breath support. 

4- Sweet Jane

This song has an arrangement that makes it the motivational one in the album. It has a chord progression in the chorus that’s highly reminiscent of bands like Three Days Grace and Evanescence. This song’s beat had me banging my head like crazy, and the emotional delivery is second to none for sure. Jeremiah Scott does an amazing job of providing basslines that make the song stompy at the right moments and fluid just when it needs to be. 

5- Fear of Faith

I’ve already expressed my love for the vocals, and it’s time to give this world-class guitar duo a round of applause of their own. To say that John Loux and Zach Nielsen provided stunning guitar work for this track would be an understatement. This track alone ticks so many boxes and succeeds in being a gripping emotional piece that has heavy guitar and drums to go along with the heavy emotional punch that it packs. Up to this point, I thought the album already gave me all it has to offer and it can not possibly top this. 

6- Lorelai

A couple of lo-fi keyboards and piano chords play in the background of Belle’s emotional wailing. This is how a modern-day siren would sound. You can hear a distinction from the growls and overdrive used on the other tracks, as this one is more of a laid back breathy poem acting like a calm before the storm. Belle shows a similar method of singing this ballad to that of Maria Brink from In This Moment on their track “Fighter”. 

7- Until You’re Better

Once you get to this track, the storm itself is upon you. This is the track’s magnum opus, and it’ll probably go down as a milestone in their whole career. A medium-tempo drum beat and melodic guitars begin the track with some soft singing, only to be interrupted by a lengthy guitar solo and a spoken interlude that tells an emotional story. It’s all beginning to make sense now with the name Lorelai and the infamous tale of an unfaithful lover. The spectacular drum work performed by Mr Elliot Holt then powerfully moves us to the second section of the song which brings back belted vocals and another solo that’s way more melodic than the previous tracks and showcases some shredding ability by the virtuoso axemen here. This part had me crazily banging my head up and down. The word masterpiece was invented for songs like this one. It redefines the emotions of love and loyalty, as well as being a culmination of all the different influences Belle and The Vertigo Waves bring to the table. The blend has enough of everything, without ever feeling like it’s too much or too focused on one genre or style of rock. 

8- Just A Delusion

The name and lyrics suggest there’s more emotional content and dwelling on this past troubled love. But in terms of music, it’s more of the 80s Metal influence here and less of the alternative stuff. It’s not easy to name any other track this one compares to, as I was ensnared in its glorious riffs and solos which made me fall in love with the band more than I had already been. 

9- Love in Remission

Is the name suggesting that Belle is giving the troublesome another chance? Or is she just re-evaluating his all-around toxicity? I love the attitude and vibes of the vocals in here that sound ruthless and pissed off, especially after the past couple of songs were on the more tragic side. The drumbeat on this one is another stompy alternative beat that’s complimented by a solid bassline and guitar chord progressions from hell. The solo had a nice “wah-wah” pedal and it was brief yet impactful. A nice breather in the middle of a dense track. The track ends with some more shredding that matches the badass vibe of the pissed-off vocals. One of the strongest tracks on the record so far. 

10- Nothing to Protect

This track once again shows those poppy drum beats and the verses rely on the bass and keys. It’s only at the pre-chorus/second half of the verse that an awesome chord progression appears. Belle melodically chants the chorus in comparison to the rest of the record. It’s still a hard rock track at its core, but it definitely has all the elements that make a successful mainstream hit. It was only until the explosive guitar solo that burst into my ears that I thought this is the filler track. But don’t be mistaken, this is no filler or lazy/poppy song at all. It just happens to conceal its surprises near its ending with the solo and the awesome belted vocals. 

11- Partings

The name is suggestive of a farewell to the troubled love. While that toxic troublesome lover may not deserve it, these psychedelic keys/synths are a classy way to end an album full of cathartic waves of anger. I love how it’s similar to the intro prelude but at the same time has some minor changes that make you know it’s the record’s conclusion. 

What sets Belle and The Vertigo Waves apart from these 2000s bands so far is the rawness of their songwriting. The lead guitar’s melodies are the chief of every song. The basslines that some of the songs revolve around unintentionally pay homage to tons of classic rock and hard rock bands and this maintains that catchy sound that keeps the listener captivated throughout the record. This is how I’d imagine 80s musicians trying to write an alternative record would sound like. Larger-than-life melodies, thunderous drums and raspy gritty vocals seal the deal with their emotional weight and raw power. I would also love to stress on the fact that the bass guitar is clear and audible throughout the record, just so nitpicky people like myself don’t have a complaint about it. It accentuates the lead melodies and energizes the vocals with the right touch. There’s nothing more I demand from a Rock N Roll record.

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