New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Review: Chastity Belt’s ‘Live Laugh Love’ is dreamy collection of lyrical nostalgia

In its newest album, Chastity Belt takes listeners on a stormy journey, full of emotional highs and lows.
Chastity Belt’s “Live Laugh Love” was released on March 29, 2024. (Courtesy of Beto Barkmo) (Courtesy of Beto Barkmo)

Chastity Belt’s new alternative album, “Live Laugh Love,” is a significant milestone in the band’s transformative journey. After four studio albums, two singles and five years, the band has re-emerged with a musical evolution. Composed of 11 indie songs with a shoegaze feel, “Live Laugh Love” elevates Chastity Belt’s sound to a new level, guiding us through emotional lows and elated highs.

The album is a dreamy, lucid fusion of all four band members’ talents. Formed in Walla Walla, Washington, Chastity Belt began in 2010. Re-establishing older sounds that are typical of Chastity Belt’s music, the opening track “Hollow” is an excellent introduction to the band’s new themes — and sentiment to the album as a whole. The vocals singing “Free will doesn’t feel free / Anymore,” reminisce the post-pandemic reality the album was created in, conveying a collective feeling of a lack of control. Beyond that, the song delves deeper into self-reflection and the idea of feeling lost.

The verses, “All my needs bend / To fit in / I will sit still with my doubt / Real life doesn’t feel real / Anymore,” convey a universal experience of sitting with a feeling and accepting it. The song is relatable, like a hollow breath where you can’t get enough air, and it resonates with listeners — after all, it is among the band’s top songs on its Apple Music page.

The album’s fifth track, “Kool-Aid,” offers a poignant moment of internal struggle. The lyrics, “Drawing a line straight through my thoughts / Pull out the knife and clean it off / Surrender to the fear that lives inside me / Stare into the mirror and meet my shame,” deeply resonate, capturing the feeling of perseverance and a struggle to continue moving forward despite exhaustion and disappointment.

Chastity Belt’s songs about friendship are nostalgic and bittersweet, as the band’s joyful beats contrast with melancholic lyrics. “Laugh” especially seems to be unpacking the band’s perspectives. The lyrics “Remember that summer we spent living instead? / I wanted it to last, but it’s all in my head” is captivating with its ethereal sound and themes of friendship.

Chastity Belt’s musical evolution is evident in “Live Laugh Love.” The band has established a new foundation for expressing friendship and collaboration while maintaining its shoegaze vibe on the bittersweet musicality and poetic lyrics. “Live Laugh Love” teaches us to let go and hold on to happiness, even if it is tainted with sad memories.

Contact Addison Alvarado at [email protected].

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    Carlos CastroApr 10, 2024 at 9:13 am

    Very good insight