Alex Lahey has shot from backyard rock to Australian success in the past year alone.
She snagged a hit on the mainstream with 2016’s B-Grade University, released her debut album I Love You Like a Brother in 2017, and has just dropped her sophomore LP, The Best of Luck Club.
With this in mind, the bent figure hunched over her phone in the back corner of a Bourke Street café is at odds with the reserved confidence that radiates from Lahey as she nuts out the bits and bobs of her burgeoning career.
For someone doing a Sydney-to-Melbourne FIFO on a Wednesday, Lahey is articulate when asked about the whirlwind of the past few days. Within the span of a week, Lahey dropped a new single, released a new video, announced an upcoming Aussie tour and also revealed her long-awaited sophomore album release date. Seems like a mouthful because it most definitely is, but Lahey’s taking it in her stride like a seasoned professional.
“Not to overuse an analogy, but the creative path is a bit like a rollercoaster: the rolling upwards is the struggle of making it all, which happened ages ago. So the releasing of it all is when you’re going downhill and just flying through it, and that means it’s surprisingly easy. Going on tour will be when it starts ramping up again.”
Having had a minute to breathe since the rollercoaster reached its peak, Lahey has been setting aside time for the classic task that never ends; writing. Lahey, having released her first song in 2015, is no stranger to the ins and outs of proficient songwriting, but has recently expanded her technical vocab into the realms of production. She’s started producing for other bands, but also produced the entirety of her own album.
The Best of Luck Club is an amalgamation of Lahey’s greatest talents: gnashing garage rock sounds, honest lyrics, and an atmosphere that could soundtrack any Aussie backyard bash. Lahey takes risks on this record, such as the unprecedented slow tune, ‘Unspoken History’, which brings the LP into its second – and best – half, lamenting a lost relationship over a piano-led melody.
The recently dropped video is for the album’s fourth track, ‘Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself’, and it seems like a pick-me-up anthem you could just as easily play to an upset friend as you could to yourself. The bridge delivers a real treat, where Lahey whips out her alto-sax and goes to town on a solo that even Kenny G would be proud of.
“Yeah, the sax is coming on tour! I’m playing that solo for each show, so get ready,” she laughs. Lahey learned the saxophone as part of a jazz degree at uni, and both her manager and her mum were stoked to see her put it to good use. “My manager [Leigh Treweek] was like, ‘I’ve been waiting so long for this’. It’s an alto, too, so it fits in my hand luggage, thank god.”
The upcoming tour will hit every major Australian city and will see Lahey and her band work their way around the country for the whole of June. Upon mention of the dates, Lahey smiles and shifts in her seat, nodding vigorously.
“I’m really excited for tour to start again. I’ve been working on some other projects recently, so it’ll be great to step back into ‘Alex Lahey world’ again.
“We’re playing The Forum, which is huge and a bit scary, to be honest,” she laughs, albeit nervously. “It’s bizarre. I’m a born and bred Melbourne girl, so the Melbourne music scene is all I know… you know? The Forum is the holy grail of this type of venue, so I’m very proud on principle to be putting on a show there.
“I know it’ll be a good show. I know that I’m going to give it so much time and attention because of how much it means to me, so there will be very little room for it to be anything but awesome.”
Alex Lahey’s new album The Best of Luck Club is out now through Dead Oceans/Caroline Australia. She launches the new LP at The Forum on Saturday June 22. Head to the venue website for tickets.