Album Review – Underneath, Beside Me by Lesser Care

à La Carte Records 2022


As temperatures on campus hit the high 70s, summer is definitely in the air. The sun is out, the flowers are blooming, and everyone is anxious to be done with class so they can enjoy the warm weather. But along with changing seasons and hopeful spirits comes that intense summertime sadness. Texas-based band Lesser Care’s fresh debut LP Underneath, Beside Me features melancholy but romantic lyrics coupled with bright guitar riffs that craft a warm and accessible sound for the unique bleakness of the summer months.

The first single, “Meadow”, is the most upbeat song on the record. The dreamy chords and nostalgic synths capture the feeling of driving on a sunny day. The heavy vocal style, however, definitely creates a darker, almost gothic sound. The lyrics convey a peaceful setting, “Sitting next to the river in blooming daylight // Touching the souls of the valley”. “Meadow”, however, is an exception. The rest of the tracks have the classic mournful vocals of a gothic shoegaze band. Album standout, “Between You”, features Deftones-esque wispy vocals with more teeth than other tracks. Here the band best embraces their proficiency for darker, edgier, and more romantic tones. The reverb on the vocals and bumping synth are a welcome change from some of the group’s more classic elements, and showcase the band’s ability to switch styles and moods with expertise.

Reflection” keeps the summery vibe going by opening with a warm, indie pop chord. The song is like the darker cousin of “Hot Rod” by Dayglow but Lesser Care takes it in a completely unexpected direction with a high energy synth riff that builds energy until exploding into the repetitive, twangy guitar and heavy drums that are ever present throughout the LP. “Crawling Back to the Sun” similarly doubles down and cements these elements as staples of the group’s sound. While the cut could benefit from a bit more versatility, the track is great to vibe to regardless.

Lesser Care is definitely a band to watch as they grow. Underneath, Beside Me is a solid debut record that blends post-punk, shoegaze, and 80s pop sounds into a perfect soundtrack for your summer blues.

Underneath, Beside Me is streaming everywhere. Preorder the album on vinyl here.

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