By Hailey Nuthals, Arts Editor
In their debut album “Don’t Love Nobody,” Laurel and the Love-In waste no time in showing that they’re ready for business. The group is fronted by Laurel Sorenson, backed with a quartet of trusty rockers straight out of Nashville that are headed straight for the big-time. The album’s opening track “No More” starts with a bit of old-timey sounding audio of two men arguing that goes as follows:
“She’s a good one, too! Just look at that record.”
“Give her to somebody else! I asked for a man.”
“We don’t have a man with her qualifications.”
Then the frantically paced drums and guitar start in, and it’s clear that listeners are in for and old-fashioned rock-and-roll time. The track goes straight into the next, “Without You Blues,” which feels like a classic heavy 12-bar-blues with all the sass and swagger of women ready to do whatever they please. It’s as satisfying as an all-woman “Ghostbusters” or a really good cocktail on a really hot night. It’s as satisfying as finally turning to that man who broke your heart and telling him just how far he can take his schtick and run with it. It’s the satisfaction of being vulnerable and happy and sad and your own in your own emotions. (It’s really satisfying, to be short.)
“Got a Light” continues the stream of sensual, teasing vocals that make you want more while making it clear that Sorenson and Sorenson alone gets to decide what, if she wants, to give to you. It’s rock in the age of women owning their bodies (or at least fighting for the right to). Even this early in the record, Sorenson is becoming like the badass chica that would storm the box office if she were a Hollywood protagonist in some action film. (There would be whiskey, guns, and flawless one-liners.)
“Can’t Wait” speeds into “Prescription,” whose clever time changes, triple rhythms, and syncopation make it into a wonderful representation of what some of us will recognize as the ups and downs of changing medications, and what all of us can recognize as the sensation of rapidly changing emotions in a situation out of our control. Still, Sorenson mantains her own control, and her fearless shouting and sweet croons remain the carefully arranged efforts of a fearsome songstress.
“Love Don’t Love Nobody” starts out the kicker line “they all say / you can’t trust women these days,” and continues over arpeggiated guitars to bemoan the temptress of Love herself. It’s a perfectly timed lull in the album’s tempo, and pairs perfectly with “Want You for Your Body.” Each song that follows, all the way through to the conclusion, creates a seamless listening experience of guitars that are downright comforting in their classic nostalgia and lyrics that finally give women another one of their own to look up to as a “rockstar,” someone the boys will not have a chance of claiming as inferior. The frequent uses of radio-era audio make sexism seem as antiquated as it properly is, and make the album a listening experience one all its own, while still making you downright lust for the shot to see the group perform live.