Given the confrontational bent of singles like 2017’s anti-Trump track “Seashore” and last year’s Brett Kavanaugh-inspired entry “Poor Boy,” fans might have expected a full-on #MeToo-era protest album from L.A. rock act the Regrettes.
Instead, the group’s follow-up to its 2017 pop-punk full-length “Feel Your Feelings Fool!” follows the trajectory of a failed romance within its 15 tracks, from first kiss to kiss-off.
Frontwoman Lydia Night, 18, hadn’t planned on making a concept album this early in her career.
“We started to notice a pattern within the first five songs. The pattern being my history and what was happening in my life being reflected in the songs,” she says. “We decided it was kind of awesome and we should lean into it.”
“How Do You Love?” (out Aug. 9) is a love story. But given that its nearly 2020 and the Regrettes’ chief songwriter is a self-aware feminist who grew up with role models like Joan Jett and Courtney Love, it isn’t your average tale of woe.
“It’s kind of a cautionary tale where the narrator is solving her own (problems) through telling (it) and realizing it’s OK and taking a more positive approach,” Night explains. “We turned it into this thing that we didn’t expect in the beginning. Everyone can put out love songs, but telling this story is something different.”
“How Do You Love?” never wallows in misery or teeters on sappy balladry. It’s a generally upbeat take on surviving heartache and moving on.
“There are definitely lows, because we want to respect the fact that that’s a very real step in the process for people, but you can come out of it just learning,” she adds.
It’s musically broader than “Fool!,” with shades of ’50s doo-wop and ’60s girl groups as well as contemporary indie, pop and punk.
“With the first record, we wanted to make sure the first thing we put out was very true to self — a very rock-n’-roll and punk-inspired record. With this, we allowed ourselves to mess around more and have fun with it,” says Night, who — like numerous artists before her — had to get past her early notions of the band’s mission and its music.
“I always wanted to make this statement of ‘I’m not going to conform. I signed to a major and I’m going to still make our music.’ But I started losing sight of what we wanted our music to be, which can happen when you’re so stubborn and stuck,” she says.
The group wrapped a European Tour with Twenty One Pilots earlier this year and has already played massive festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza — a big step for a bunch of teenagers. But Night knew she was destined for the stage from an early age.
“I got my guitar for my sixth birthday and started lessons the next day,” she says, praising her parents, who supported her lofty elementary-school goals.
When it finally came time to play big stages, she was well-prepared.
“Everyone assumes these huge stages and huge shows must be scary. It’s something you can’t prepare for. Overall, I was weirdly ready enough. I’d been waiting for this to do something like this my whole life.”
When: 8 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave.
Details: 704-358-9200; www.visulite.com.