Sweden’s I Love Your Lifestyle have been indie-rock/emo’s best-kept secret for the past eight years, releasing a slew of spidery, sparkly math-rock-tinged pop-punk singles, EPs and albums to underground acclaim. ‘No Driver’ – which follows hot on the heels of 2019’s excellent ‘The Movie’ – should finally break the quintet to a wider audience.
Opener ‘Stupid’ is the joy of I Love Your Lifestyle in microcosm. Guitars, straining at the leash to run riot, zip around in every possible direction, with multiple breathless voices trying valiantly to keep pace. Exhilarating doesn’t come close to describing the chaos, which sits somewhere between the intensity and joyous communal experience of Iron Chic with the fuck-it-all pandemonium of emo revival godfathers Snowing and Algernon Cadwallader.
After such a dizzying opening, ‘No Driver’ settles into a more considered – but no less enjoyable – groove. ‘Car’ serves as a spiritual successor to ‘Indoor Living’, ‘The Movie’s outstanding pop song, while on ‘I Have No Point To Make’ and ‘OK’, I Love Your Lifestyle find the confidence (and room) to finally let their songs breathe.
If there’s one criticism of the group’s early output, it was that it was too frantic, with ideas thrown on top of each other with wanton abandon. Here, however, the likes of ‘Align!’ stretch out to fill five minutes with ease, reclining and expanding into the space. That’s not to say the group’s trademark charm is diluted – ‘No Driver’ is packed with winning indie-pop songs – more that they’ve found new and exciting ways in which to shape it.
Similarly, on lead single ‘Shilly-Shally’ and closing ‘Making Nothing Out of something’ I Love Your Lifestyle hit the perfect spot between their playful musicality and more considered lyricism. The latter in particular is a real joy – a story of making peace with the ‘what could have been's set to a restrained, almost melancholy score; I say almost because there’s still a gleefully freewheeling undercurrent to it which refuses to be tamed. The final minute in particular – where the band finally shake off the shackles and cut loose – fills the soul.
And it’s this odd juxtaposition that I Love Your Lifestyle have finally nailed to perfection; how do you tell stories of significance and weight yet still play music that teeters on the brink of collapse? Plenty have tried and failed, but I Love Your Lifestyle might have finally found the secret.