Lemon Pitch

Flat Black Sea

Lemon Pitch
Flat Black Sea
Repeating Cloud

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.