SXSW Friday Record Reviews

Lvl Up

Return to Love (Sub Pop)

SXSW Friday Record Reviews

Lvl Up never made guitars feel more relevant than they do on their third album and Sub Pop debut Return to Love. Relive Pavement, Dinosaur Jr., and Built to Spill, and it's the Nineties all over again. From prodding lo-fi strums ("She Sustains Us"), distortion sweeps ("Five Men on the Ridge"), pop washes ("Blur"), and militaristic epics ("Naked in the River With the Creator"), guitar progressions expand through pastoral acoustics and fuzz grime. Contemplating heartbreak in "Pain" and posing existential questions in "Hidden Driver," the Brooklyn quartet become philosophers and theologians without falling back on easy answers. (Fri. 17, Cheer Up Charlies, 11pm)

***.5

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