New Regrettes album is captivating in its rawness

Photo courtesy of David Lee, Flickr.

The Regrettes’ latest album “Further Joy,” released on April 8, presents the band’s iconic themes of growth and self-reliance wrapped in a multilayered sound that inspires listeners to hit the dance floor. This is the band’s third studio album, and its unique blend of pop, punk and rock that already has fans begging for more.

Lead vocalist Lydia Night shared in the band's Spotify About section that introspection fueled the album, saying, “That phrase, ‘further joy,’ summarized what it meant to be on the hamster wheel of constantly chasing happiness, but in turn, that’s what makes you unhappy.”

Night has openly discussed how many of the songs reflect the journey she took throughout the pandemic to come to terms with her mental health issues and seek help. “Anxieties (Out of Time),” the opening track, mixes a racing beat with notes of hope to reflect the complex feelings many experienced when lockdown began.

With COVID-19 still making headlines, this song is an important reminder that self-reassurance is never futile, even when it feels like the end of the world. Night’s tone is scared yet firm as she sings, “What can I, what can I say? / Tellin' myself that I'm okay / Colors come after the rain / Knock me down, I won't back down.”

“Monday” is also packed with references to feeling overwhelmed. Night’s anxiety diagnosis inspired her to write about the intimidation and validation that came with finally starting to understand her own struggles. The song is for anyone who has ever struggled to cope with a mental health issue. 

“We don’t have to constantly be achieving things to be worthy,” Night told NME. “Sometimes, just being alive is enough.”

Internal conflict can stem from external sources, and “Further Joy” examines how they are connected in situations involving unhealthy relationships — platonic, familial and romantic.

“Step 9” is perhaps the heaviest song on the album. It is about recognizing how someone’s personal struggles are not excuses for abusive behavior. Even if an abuser turns their life around, the victim is still entitled to keep their distance. Forgiveness is not owed.

“You don't get to say it's alright 'cause you're on step nine,” Night sings, referencing the 12-step program aimed at people with substance use disorders. No one should feel the need to hold the hand of the person who hurt them as they walk the road to recovery. “Step 9” helps those who need to let go, let go.

“Barely on My Mind” calls back to sounds from The Regrettes’ earlier albums. The lyrics are packed with horror references to reflect the haunting quality of an abusive relationship. 

The subject of the song is “a devil in a fancy suit” whom the singer can't stop thinking about due to the trauma they inflicted. Every note contains the rawness of a wound that never healed properly, a perfect emulation of the grief and fury that comes with never getting closure from a toxic partner.

After taking listeners on a wild, emotional ride, “Further Joy” ends hopefully with “Show Me You Want Me.” It expresses how relationship anxiety can make people feel undeserving of true, healthy love. Night adds a personal touch to a common experience with the line “And if ya take away the stage am I something you can see through?”

Everyone wants to be seen and accepted for their genuine selves. “Further Joy” examines how this quest is complicated by mental and interpersonal conflicts, and promises that peace is within reach. The first step is taking care of yourself, whether that means finding a therapist, blocking someone’s number or learning to find joy in your life instead of chasing it.


5/5 stars