Flat Black Sea
Back on March 27, when the Portland quartet Lemon Pitch released its debut album, live music was already no longer a thing. A key element that makes live shows special — witnessing the chemistry between musicians — is now a danger to us all. But Lemon Pitch’s internal dynamics enable that chemistry to seep through the speakers anyway. In tune with their punk-ish bent, the band seems to favor recording live in the studio, adding an intangible crackle of present-tense energy. And on Flat Black Sea, three of the four members swap songwriting and lead-vocal duties, creating a chummily collaborative vibe. Guitarist Brock Ginther (also of Midwestern Medicine), bassist Alex Merril, and guitarist/label head Galen Richmond (Computer at Sea, Agian Trobot) are all experienced hook-crafters, and each has carved out their own niche within the group’s indie-rock aesthetic. Ginther’s the poppiest of the bunch, turning the all-too-resonant couplet, “Miss you when you’re gone / More bad news,” into the record’s catchiest earworm. Merril prefers more verbose, distorted jaunts, and Richmond adds a little jangle to his power-pop recipes — the title track, which Richmond wrote, reminds me of Old 97’s at their alt-country peak. It must be a joy to watch these guys trade songs on stage. Here’s hoping we get the chance to see that soon.