For Fans Of: The World Is A Beautiful Place / Gulfer / American Football

Watford based six-piece ensemble Lakes have announced their signing to Big Scary Monsters for their new record ‘Start Again’, out 30th July. After a number of self-releases which catapulted the band a long way in a short space of time, in 2020 Lakes slowed down alongside the pandemic following a stint of heavy touring with the likes of Nervus and Orchards. The six individuals that make up Lakes took the opportunity to formulate new ideas ready for their follow-up record and fired by a strong ‘do it yourself’ ethic, they collaborated remotely on bringing each other’s stories to life. The resulting album, mixed by Neil Strauch (Owen, Owls, Joan Of Arc, Anathallo, Slow Mass etc), captures themes of healing, hope and relief.

Lead single and title track ‘Start Again’ addresses collective suffering as a result of Covid and subsequent lockdowns, with lead singer Roberto Cappellina hitting the reset button after spending the summer self-medicating in order to deal with panic attacks. Cappellina explains; “During lockdown last year my mental health was really suffering, and as a result I had been self-medicating pretty hard. There’s a collective suffering right now which makes it harder to relate to an individual’s story, but this was my outlet.”

Where ‘Start Again’ exemplifies Lakes at their most vulnerable, ‘Retrograde’ looks at misdirecting your attention and energy and how confusing and sad it can be to repeat unhealthy patterns of behaviour when you really want the outcome to change. But despite the album’s core of anxiety and its resolutions of hope, the band majestically wrap their brand of “glock-rock” around their lyrics with ease, fusing math-pop time signatures and 80s pop inspired dual-vocals.

“This batch of songs has been a vehicle for healing for all six of us in some way, so there are a lot of different but raw themes throughout the record. Even though we’re currently all isolated from each other, the one person you can’t escape is yourself,” says Cappellina. “We talk about anything from mental health to addiction; from break ups to cutting out toxic friends, to postpartum psychosis. We’ve been to some dark places between us, but ultimately, ‘Start Again’ is about coming out the other side. This record is about facing that darkness, owning it and letting go of the past. It’s about being at peace with it and moving forward and saying that it’s actually OK to start again.”

Elsewhere on the 12-track album, forthcoming single ‘Matches’ is an exploration of political division, set to a backdrop of glistening guitars, a driving melody and the band’s signature harmonised dual lead vocals. “Watching the way political discourse has played out over the past few years and the tension that comes with polarising views – it’s exhausting. No one wants to be proven wrong.” says Roberto. “There’s a need for space to have real conversations with each other and to listen. This song is about reaching out to have those conversations.”

On ‘Get Better’, the band process trauma and the roles loved ones play in a person’s recovery. Roberto explains; “This song is about being there for someone in the truest way without judgement or trying to fix. Just being there out of love. Trauma is hard to process and communicate, especially with people you know, and there’s perhaps a trepidation around judgement.”

Born from drummer/guitarist Matt Shaw’s newfound desire to write music — having been inspired by midwestern emo giants American Football’s LP2 in 2016 — within the space of a month he had the basis for an EP (2018s The Tahoe EP and 2019s The Geneva EP) and album laid out. With former bandmate Roberto Cappellina on vocals, those early works were recorded on a single mic and PC and soon the pair were joined by Blue Jenkins (vocals, glockenspiel, keys), Rob Vacher (guitar), Gareth Arthur (guitar) and Charlie Smith (bass).

Inspired by 80s pop rock icons Fleetwood Mac, Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel and stimulated by the sonic legacies of their scene peers (The Appleseed Cast, TTNG, Broken Social Scene and Bon Iver), in 2019 Lakes released their debut album ‘The Constance LP’, which saw praise from the likes of Rocksound, Brooklyn Vegan, Alt Press and Punkstatic — with Washed Up Emo championing the ensemble as Your new favourite band.

Lakes’ spell-binding and triumphant live show has seen them out on the road with label mates Orchards and Nervus, and unexpectedly spread their reputation half way across the globe, with Tower Records Tokyo profiling the band instore as well as their signing with Friend Of Mine Records in Japan and Know Hope Records in the US.