As we all grow older, life tends to throw us curve balls. A lost promotion, failed relationships, broken families,bad grades, you name it. We as a society recognize the potential to learn from each of these failures and have colloquially dubbed them “life lessons”, and acoustic/spoken word artist Luke Freday (better known as Expect Delays), for better or for worse, has channeled these experiences into his debut ep, appropriately titled Life Lessons.
Heartbreak is a bitch. We love and we lose, we give all of ourselves to someone only to get left behind in the dust. Whether it’s a bad breakup with a lover or losing your relationship with your parents, every last one of us has felt it.
Throughout the six tracks on Life Lessons, Freday makes his influences starkly apparent, wearing shades of City and Colour on his flannel sleeves. Unfortunately, these influences seem to be too apparent, as Freday loses himself in a sea of unoriginal chord progressions and cliche lyrics about a high school lover. While there certainly is honesty to be found in his songwriting, tracks like “C U (N)ext (T)uesday” and album opener “A Shed” show a tinge of misogynist lyrical content that I would accredit to someone in their tween stages of puberty. While some lyrics absolutely hit home, they seem to get lost in an abyss of absolutely overdone cliches and conventions that end up bogging down any sort of freshness that could be buried underneath. This is not to say that Freday isn’t a talented songwriter (“Dear Dad” is a prime example of an honest and “less is more” approach to both the music and lyrics), but he would do well to try and break away from these tropes. I really do want to like this album but the constant familiarity makes it a very difficult listen.
Vocally, Freday has the same issue- his influence is too apparent, and unfortunately for him, his vocals aren’t quite as technically good as his idols. When he sings lower, quieter parts, he sounds passable. Hell, he even sounds great on “Dear Dad”, but the one song doesn’t account for the entire album. To put it bluntly, his singing is definitely not his strong suit. While he sounds very honestly emotional on this album, even THAT tends to feel forced, instead of any shred of sounding natural.
Overall, this project is a lackluster effort. While there certainly is potential for great songs, they never wow me, they never have the “moment” that would catch someone’s attention. If Freday were to work on not re-using lyrics and improving his vocal range, he could genuinely put out the next Me and My Uke EP. Until then, you’re better off listening to the bands he draws influence from.
FFO: Listener, City & Colour, Koji