By: Ruby H. Warren
Lawrence first came across my radar when I went to see Jon Bellion as he headlined the Glory Sound Prep tour to celebrate a friend’s birthday and Lawrence was his opening act. I hadn’t heard of them before, though they had three albums out at that point. Their set was short, but they had such infectious energy that bled through to the entire crowd. I loved them enough to even buy a shirt from their merch stand. It was amazing and ever since I have followed the band pretty closely.
Fronted by siblings Gracie and Clyde Lawrence, there is an obvious connection in how the two create and perform, which is also what Jon Bellion saw as they were the first act he signed when he started his own label, Beautiful Mind Records, in 2019.
As Gracie falls in the wheelhouse of Amy Winehouse or Mandy Lee from Misterwives, Clyde’s range and vocal stylings sound as if Andy Grammer were to crossover into jazz. Collectively, however, their sounds meet at upbeat pop and Dixieland jazz.
To open the album with such a strong banger such as “Don’t Lose Sight”, the record, Hotel TV, might be what puts Lawrence on the map on a much larger stage than before. It’s such a bold and in-your-face song that feels very similar to “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato. However, leading into track two, which is also the title track, the juxtaposition between such a strong song followed by a much more subdued instrumental track paired with Gracie taking a more relaxed approach in her delivery sets up the rest of the album quite perfectly.
In most situations, I find it easy to spot the standouts. However, this album was perfectly puzzled together in track order and sound that it ebbs and flows as one would hope. After about a half dozen listen throughs though, I definitely am drawn to the beautifully layered vocals on the romantically played keys on “The Weather”, the horns on “It’s Not All About You”, and I find the NSYNC cover of “It’s Gonna Be Me” to be incredibly fun as well.
As a fan of the band, I would love to see them start focusing a bit more on the storytelling aspect of their songwriting. It’s not that their songs lack character, but just as it is with most soul-pop bands, the focus is on the instrumentation and how the vocals are one of many pieces of a much larger sound instead of having much of a spotlight on the lyrics themselves. I think there is a lot of room to grow in that regard, but as far as total sound goes, there isn’t much like Lawrence out in the mainstream today and I would love for this sound to get more commercial recognition.
If you like this, try:
- Our Own House (2017) by Misterwives
- Waiting for the Dawn (2013) by The Mowglis
- Side Pony (2016) by Lake Street Dive