Since the October 2013 release of Cool Cool Cool, the Lawsuits have continued to hone and perfect an impressively rich live show. Already a few years into a career that has seen them share a stage with Good Old War, Toy Soldiers, and Joe Fletcher, the band is nationally recognized as the City of Brotherly Love’s crown jewel. Mixing bluesy, intricate melodies with lush vocals, the Lawsuits stitch together musical genres so easily that the seams are virtually invisible. And while their harmonies and guitar tones often appear to be sunlit, the musical landscapes that they create are anything but saccharine. Most thrilling is when those moments of tranquility quietly fade, gradually wearing away to unveil unvarnished, stark rock and roll.
Lawsuits lead vocalist and songwriter, Brian Strouse, has a unique way of constructing concise melody and verse, which strongly informs the group’s highly original sound. And in most of his compositions, the details are often in what goes unsung. When Strouse sang, “And you don’t talk to much to Grandma. Hell, she don’t talk too much to you,” from the Cool Cool Cool track, “Dreaming # 26,” it painted a complete portrait of a turbulent, familial relationship without really saying much at all. And despite the joyous sing-along that erupted when the band played fan favorite “Ebony Rose,” the absolute highlight of their set was their serene performance of, “You Won’t Love Me If You Don’t.” Featuring Vanessa Winters on lead vocal, the song is a beautiful, heart-wrenching paean to anyone who has ever been discarded for someone else. Most arresting was the final, gleaming refrain, sung with a power and restraint that the band matched note for note:
“You won’t love me if you don’t, I won’t ask you if you won’t.
You don’t hold me if you won’t, I don’t want you if you don’t.
You don’t love me if you don’t, I won’t ask you if you won’t.
Don’t hold me if you won’t, I don’t want you if you don’t.”
by: Caitlin Phillips
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