LVCRFT’s V wouldn’t scarce a housefly. Make no mistake, however – it isn’t trying to. There’s a nudge and wink throughout the song’s entirety that keeps the track honest. It does, however, capture the spirit of Halloween with zest and flair that never descends into gaudy self-indulgence. Modern songwriting movers and shakers Amanda Warner, Peter Wade, and Evan Bogart have distinguished the releases of such mainstream talents as Rhianna, Flume, Mark Ronson, and Beyonce, among many others, and they bring that same touch for mass appeal to LVCRFT’s V.

Based on the successful single “Scream! (For Halloween)” alone, V should be the best album yet from LVCRFT. They don’t approach the Halloween holiday with a lot of ham-fisted pomp and circumstance. Enjoyment and fun are at the top of their agendas and the album’s first cut “Everyday is Halloween” announces that loud and clear. There are no lulls in this track. Wade, Warner, and Bogart overcome any differences in the way they write material to achieve an unique balance that makes “Everyday is Halloween” and the songs that follow sound like they’re the product of a single sensibility. That’s no small accomplishment.

“Burnin’” is arguably the album’s most all-around substantive accomplishment. Every piece falls into place. The evocative vocals do a lot to set the song’s mood, but the notably dark musical surroundings are nonetheless rich with suggestive sonics that pulled me into the track’s web. The vocals simmer with surprising sensuality, but you can’t accuse this song of being cheap or crude. It’s the album’s longest number at a hair under three and a half minutes. “Seraphina”, on the other hand, falls into line with the bulk of V due to its sub-three-minute running time. It’s a physical performance that doesn’t waste the listener’s time.

“Scream! (For Halloween)” is a fully realized experience that puts you in the Halloween mood without ever coming across as crass or cliched. Little moves like the ominous tolling bell at the song’s outset are perfect examples. The musical highlight, however, arrives with the song’s saxophone solo during the second half. Some bands and/or songwriters think their tracks need bold, audacious moments to implant themselves in a listener’s memory, but LVCRFT’s choices for a song such as this illustrate how it’s often simple strokes that transform a musical piece.

There are surprises coming with the album’s second half. “Never Be Alone” balances musical creativity in abundance, child-like sounds, and several vamps that focus listeners’ attention throughout the arrangement. “Feeling Like Halloween” is the last outright homage to the holiday that’s included on V and it’s a fitting complement to earlier tracks such as the single “Scream! (For Halloween)” without retreading previously covered ground.

They’ll be around for years to come. isn’t heralding a musical revolution or pushing listeners to change the world. So what? It’s here to turn our worries and cares off for a few minutes with an irrepressible skill that leaves us exhilarated rather than dispirited and childlike in the best possible way. LVCRFT’s V promises to be a great full-length release for 2023’s Halloween season, but it will likely boast true pop durability no matter what the date is

Claire Uebelacker

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