The Regrettes: How Do You Love? – album review

Reviewed by Tony Rounce

I first saw The Regrettes playing live on the flat roof of a Whole Foods store in Austin, Texas in March 2017. I wasn’t so much beguiled by their sound as bowled over.  I couldn’t wait to see and hear more, or to get home and tell our Kim about this great young band that I knew she was going to love. They are a perfect ‘entry level’ band for anybody who wants to dig deeper into the world of Loud Women – as demonstrated by the aforementioned 14-year-old, who has become an ardent fan of ARXX and Dream Nails off the back of her first (and second, and third…) Regrettes gigs last year.

It’s somewhat mind-blowing to realise that the Regrettes have been a band for nearly 5 years, and that their vocal focal point and primary songwriter Lydia Night is still a few weeks short of her 19th birthday.  Despite significant personnel changes along the way the group has hung in there to grow a real fan base through regular touring, and to nurture a genuine love affair with its audiences.  The recently released “How Do You Love?” is the second full Regrettes album, and it’s very much the worthy addition to their discography that fans old and new will have hoped for…

It’s not a lie to say that the Regrettes are only half the band they used to be.  Since they released their debut long player  “Feel Your Feelings Fool” almost 3 years ago, drummer Maxx Morando and bassist Sage Nicole Chavis have both moved on, as has Chavis’ first replacement Violet Mayuga.  The group’s personnel might be something of a revolving door, but their sound has remained constant, with Night and guitarist/vocalist Genessa Gariano staying true to the Regrettes’ pure powerpop musical manifesto. “How Do You Love?” segues seamlessly out of “Find Your Feelings Fool”, with much the same sort of tantalisingly tasty, loud pop treats that the Regrettes 1.0 built the reputation on that earned them the early support of our own Kate Nash, among others.

Here we have 14 smart servings of pristine American Pop that flirt with all areas of the band’s proclaimed influences, from Bikini Kill to the Ronettes to Lesley Gore and even Elvis. A baker’s dozen and one top-notch tunes, none over the four-minute mark and most under three, just like all good pop songs should be. Love songs, diatribes, barely disguised autobiographies, all anchored to the kind of naggingly familiar riffs that might make you think you’ve heard them before, but probably haven’t. 

Highlights include the love song ‘Pumpkin’, a kind of musical mash-up of the Kinks and Del Shannon with a frosting of Joan Jett in Night’s semi-sneered delivery. (Surprisingly our Joanie does not figure in the band’s admitted list of influences, but you can hear hints of her in every track – and particularly the ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’-like ‘Has It Hit You’ – whether the band meant it that way or not). ‘I Dare You’ is propelled by a Motownesque ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’-like groove, ‘Stop And Go’ is the love child of the Shangri-Las and the Ramones, ‘More Than A Month’ the ultimate in teenage breakup anthems – I can’t list all the highlights, but there’s plenty to be going on with there and if you don’t like at least some of those, you’re probably not going to like the rest of this altogether splendid album much anyway…

The Regrettes will be back in the UK for a nationwide tour in November – and, incredibly have announced this week that they will return for yet another tour in March 2020. The venues they are playing are getting bigger every time they come, so if you haven’t seen them yet, now might be a good time to splash out on a ticket before it’s Wembley Arena or nothing…

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