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Albums Of The Week: Lifeguard | Crowd Can Talk / Dressed in Trenches

The young Chicago noise-punks double the volume with this high-intensity dual EP.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Crowd Can Talk / Dressed in Trenches is a composite of two EPs by Lifeguard. Crowd Can Talk was originally released in the summer of 2022, while Dressed in Trenches features five new and unreleased songs.

Crowd Can Talk and Dressed in Trenches are closely related. They were recorded in separate sessions, but at the same studio (Electrical Audio) and with the same engineer (Mike Lust) and within the space of 12 months. Each finds the band refining their voice — honing songs that are succinct, hooky, and propulsive. There’s a newly disciplined attention to detail. Lifeguard write together through collaboration and improvisation, but they’ve learned to streamline their sound, to make each hook, beat, and gesture purposeful.

On each record, there are echoes of underground guitar bands from decades past. This is not record-collector music, though. It’s the product of a present-day community. Lifeguard are, first and foremost, a performing band and the songs are written to stand up in that moment.

“More than old records — before that, before anything — we’re influenced by live shows and people around us,” explains singer-guitarist Kai Slater. “The inspiration comes from playing shows with people and having that mind-blown moment of seeing some friend play at Schubas or Book Club,” adds drummer Isaac Lowenstein. “It’s happening on these tiny little scales of seeing kids play live and [knowing] this is something new and interesting.”

Formed in 2019, Lifeguard also includes bassist Asher Case. At their core, they are a punk band. Their music is loud and energetic. It’s also, at its core, visceral and hypnotic. For the Chicago trio, that can include repetition and blasts of speaker cone-shredding feedback. Their songs adeptly balance melody and chaos, rhythm and drone. Hooks and noise are held to the same standard. Both have to stick.

They’re a young band, but they’ve already found a place at the forefront of an important emerging music community in their hometown. They are quite prolific. In just three years, Lifeguard have put out a full-length, two EPs, and two singles.”