The Lavender Scare – Better Looking Boy
Los Angeles’ The Lavender Scare is a two man project utilizing the talents of singer and multi-instrumentalists James Delos Reyes and guitarist/bassist Luis Servin in an indie rock setting. It is an ideal musical vehicle for their queer-influenced songwriting and the band demonstrates unabashed courage singing about subjects outside the purview of commercial pop yet attracts a wide span of listeners. The band’s new single “Better Looking Boy” puts this to the test as the song references a certain popular gay hookup app but boasts all the considerable pop acumen they bring to bear on each new musical outing. Their musical identity has evolved a great deal since the band first formed in 2016 but they possess an individual sound that sets them apart from the pack.
The indie rock vibe is, indeed, very strong with this recording. Muscular drumming has a prime position in the production mix but thankfully avoids a heavy handed style in favor of smart yet dramatic contributions. The Lavender Scare’s guitar attack has a sinewy feel and carries this song from restrained, almost muted, passages into other sections steamrolling you with urgent guitar riffing or emotional yet brief lead guitar vamps. This is a song mixing a little of everything to make a deeper impact on listeners and it is impressive how convincing the band sounds embodying a range of moods.
The rock chops Servin and Reyes bring to the song are unquestionable. “Better Looking Boy” doesn’t belabor the approach, but there’s a time tested rock build to this song The Lavender Scare pace at the right speed. They underline their traditional influences with the inclusion of instruments like organ, played by Reyes, and synthesizer lines flavor the sound as well. Their songwriting, in this case referring to a popular app for casual sex, is written with biting intelligence without ever risking self-indulgence. It seems like an unlikely subject for a song, but the duo gives it genuine emotional heft.
The melodic gifts make the rock sound even more effective. The Lavender Scare are not remaking the musical wheel with their work – they are audibly working within a tradition yet manage to carve out a niche for themselves thanks to their unique synthesis of individuality, rock and pop influences. It follows in the tradition of their earlier tracks “Careful Little Eyes”, “Sermonettes”, and “Sunday Sons” but expands their potential appeal thanks to arguably stronger melodic muscle than ever before.
“Been Looking Boy” is put together in such a way it makes maximum impact on listener. Reyes and Servin clearly know what they want to do with this track and it has a sweep carrying you along from the outset and raising the ante throughout. It’s the best standalone single release yet from Los Angeles’ The Lavender Scare with both artistic and entertainment value. It has a voice all its own, as well, while invoking classic strands with punchy modern production. There may be only two members in the band, but they create an unified sound with many different strands and it should translate well into live performance.