Album review: Lawn – Bigger Sprout

The NOLA indie rock duo discover joy in maturity on this glorious amalgamation of old and new tracks

There’s a lovely dichotomy in two distinct voices coming together to create something singular. NOLA duo Lawn have done that beautifully for six years now, leaping from sunny jangle pop to angular new wave and back again, like R.E.M., The Byrds, Talking Heads and The Modern Lovers are stuck on shuffle in your car CD changer and it’s all become one inextricable, inseparable album of extremes.

Take the first two songs on Bigger Sprout, the band’s second album (but not really an album). Mac Folger’s ‘Down’ kicks things off with a summery jangle and an indelible chorus before Rui DeMagalhaes’ ‘Medicine Forever’ comes jerking into the room like David Byrne’s cubist cousin. The sweet bounce of one exacerbates the twitchy tension of the other which then elevates the sheer joy of ‘Running My Luck’, a song that can’t be played loud or often enough. The turn-taking that continues throughout Bigger Sprout becomes a push-and-pull dynamic that works hugely in the band’s favour.

Bigger Sprout follows 2020’s excellent Johnny but isn’t exactly a follow-up. In Lawns’ earliest days, they recorded a 3-track EP called Big Sprout that existed solely in the digital realm. Those songs were the epitome of a band just mucking about as an excuse to be in band and accidentally creating something great.

Lawn - Running My Luck

With DeMagalhaes about to become a father, Lawn were in a very different place in 2022. The loose levity of Big Sprout gave way to meditations on growing up, but not in a “growing old’s a bummer” kind of way. Instead, the four new songs that turn Big Sprout into Bigger Sprout have an eager acceptance, a readiness for direction and responsibility. Opener ‘Down’ deals with the idea of breaking away from your home to move forward, while ‘Running My Luck’ is about losing the appetite for youthful recklessness.

Working in reverse-chronological order suits the songs, like meeting someone for the first time and then gleaning greater understanding from the hopes and dreams of their youth. What’s clear about Lawn from Bigger Sprout is that maturity suits them to a tee.

Bigger Sprout by Lawn is out now on Born Yesterday