Milwaukee four-piece Lake Drive calls itself a “modern day hair band.” That description may conjure up images of decadent acts like Poison, Ratt, and Skid Row, but Lake Drive is far from ’80s cheese. On the band’s debut EP, Wordplay, outsized emotions are instead filtered through ’90s alt-rock and ’00s-era emo, resulting in a refreshingly sincere sound that wears its heart on its sleeve without getting that sleeve covered in Aqua Net.

Opener “Silver Linings” finds Lake Drive at its most emo. Minor-key guitars ascend and crash back down to Earth, tempos rise and fall, and singer Rayven Burdette effortlessly delivers lines like “I don’t want to piss you off for the hundredth time / Cut myself on glass that I just tend to leave behind.” The moody and melodic “Terminal” finds Lake Drive perfectly synthesizing its influences into a radio-ready concoction, while jittery closer “All American Breakup” boasts the record’s strongest chorus. Wordplay‘s third track, “Sinking In,” is its most atypical, a tender pop song filled with shimmering guitars and crooning background vocals. It’s the closest Lake Drive gets to the “power ballad” side of its hair band ancestors.

Lake Drive is an extremely new band, with Burdette, Brandon Detaege, Trevor Gallagher, and Adam Secord having formed the group in 2022. Still, a steady show schedule and an eagerness to please–combined with solid songs, of course—bode well for the foursome’s future. They’ll celebrate the release of Wordplay Friday, February 10 at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn. Listen to an advance stream of the record below.

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.