Home Read Albums Of The Week: Alex Lahey | The Answer Is Always Yes

Albums Of The Week: Alex Lahey | The Answer Is Always Yes

Weed gummies, ex-lovers' weddings and other slice-of-life weirdness might inform the Australian's third album — but its beating heart is fuelled by irresistible pop-rock.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Answer Is Always Yes is the third album from Australian singer-songwriter Alex Lahey. Where her debut I Love You Like A Brother and its 2019 followup The Best of Luck Club take their focus through the lens of relationships, on The Answer Is Always Yes, Lahey analyzes her otherness through different lenses, from its isolating effect to the surrealism and humour it instills.

“Living in a world that wasnʼt made for you makes you pretty strong and adaptive, and you find the fun in it,” Lahey says. “It also makes you realize how absurd everything is. With this record, I wanted to get weird because the world is weird, and itʼs even weirder when you realize you donʼt fit into it all the time.”

Laheyʼs fun-loving rock has found new vessels on The Answer Is Always Yes. Case in point: The Sheryl Crow-esque country-pop of Good Time flexes Laheyʼs signature sincerity and driving guitar lines while introducing a newfound melodic versatility. “This song was inspired by a night out I had at the pub with my friend soon aer Melbourne came out of lengthy lockdowns,” says Lahey. “We were watching all these strangers around us have this ʻwhatever it takesʼ attitude towards making the most of the night (aka getting lit). It was a bit of a shock after being cooped up for so long, but also kind of invigorating.” The trackʼs accompanying video, directed by Jon Danovic, puts Laheyʼs sense of humor at the forefront, depicting an open-mic comedy night where audiences literally laugh their heads off.

As a queer person and a daughter of migrants, Lahey learned how to adapt to a world that wasnʼt made for her. With The Answer Is Always Yes, Lahey examines how she finds comfort in the discomfort, whether itʼs reveling in absurdity or turning towards exploration.

Photo by Pooneh Ghana.

Early single, Congratulations, a booming power-pop track with a volcanic and cathartic chorus, is about the strange experience of having two exes get married separately in a short time span, while The Sky Is Melting revels in the chaos of consuming too many weed gummies. Lahey also delves into intense experiences on tracks like Permanent, which juxtaposes the accelerating gentrification of her native Melbourne with the regression she felt while living in her childhood home during the pandemic, or They Wouldnʼt Let Me In, Laheyʼs first song mining the depths of her queer teenage years.

Just as Lahey learned to reimagine the world around her, the music of The Answer Is Always Yes is also the product of reimagination. For the first time in her career, Lahey took a risk by inviting other writers and producers into the early stages of her creative process. With touring on hold indefinitely, Lahey didnʼt have a strict deadline to finish the album, which lent plenty of time for writing sessions with the likes of producer Jacknife Lee and others. The result is not only Laheyʼs most collaborative album yet, but also the most dynamic and surprising.

“I’ve made two records doing it all by myself and now Iʼve proved to myself that I can do it,” Lahey says. “But it was also at a point where I was like, ʻIf I do that again, I kind of know what it’s gonna sound likeʼ and I don’t think I’m interested in that right now.”

Both as a proud fringe dweller and an artist, Lahey has witnessed the benefits of taking risks and experimenting, and The Answer Is Always Yes — whose title has become a mantra for her — is living proof. “I feel like if you’re saying yes and you’re exploring, youʼre always moving,” Lahey says. “That’s the part of life that I’m in right now. I just don’t wanna stop.”


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