Home Read Albums Of The Week: LOTEC | Squares

Albums Of The Week: LOTEC | Squares

The Chicago indie-rock trio pick up where they left off more than two decades ago.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Chicago trio Land Of The El Caminos (aka LOTEC), led by lead guitarist, frontman and songwriter Dan Fanelli, have persevered through dozens of long, Chicago winters, four studio albums, several U.S. tours, and one long ‘hiatus’ before finally setting foot in the new frontier with a new record.

Fanelli, longtime drummer Kenny Wallin and relatively new addition, Chicago rock veteran Sean Hulet on bass, don’t complicate things. Squares, their fourth full-length and first release in more than 20 years, isn’t a departure from their core sound or key messages. Every song is like opening a suitcase you packed years ago to find everything in it still means something. The band’s collective talent, coupled with the help of engineer and close friend Mike Lust, perpetuate the tenderness and raw emotion of their previous recordings and live performances, only enhanced by a more mature and sophisticated sound.

“The best part about making this record was having the opportunity to finally work out these songs with Kenny and now Sean” says Fanelli. “Sean’s someone that Ken and I have known and been good friends with for almost 30 years, so he was just a natural fit. And to finally make a record with Lusty, who we also have known forever, was a blast. He totally understood what we were trying to do so it felt easy.”

Fanelli continues, “Some of these songs were ones that we started to work on when the band hit pause around 2002, some are brand new while others were ideas I had started for a solo record that never materialized. That said, they all work well together on this album, and we were all so excited to record them. It’s definitely a new start for the band.”

Honest, hard-working, and well-constructed, Squares is a melodic trip down a memory lane of your choosing; you’ll be somewhere in a distant but fond memory almost immediately. All The Ways explores how stubborn love and infatuation are; the vocals drip with the aching for what once was. The band’s love of ‘80s punk is all over Fuck Me Up, and is the artillery needed to fight against a world trying to strip the soul of all that’s good. Won’t You is the self-help guide to winning in the modern dating age. The record is a story strung together with relatable heartache in everyone’s past that despite working so hard to leave behind, just doesn’t get diluted over time. Squares follows LOTEC’s penchant for familiar themes of falling in love, falling down, climbing up, filling up and losing out; all of it a delicate reminder of how much moving on can hurt, no matter how many times we are forced to.

Those familiar with the band will recognize tracks like Second City and Special from their past live shows. Poignant and nostalgic, these new songs are the breadcrumb trail back to those special places in time; a time when things were different, and so were we. Second City envelopes the band’s true grit, celebrating the Chicago backdrop where they grew up, leveled up and showed up through their years together. Fanelli, Wallin and Hulet are here again to remind us they are just three friends from a mythical land they created in order to rock, melt faces and break hearts, record after record, till death do they part.”