Alex Lahey has the rallying call of an everyday hero. Her lyrics are punchy, pithy, and poignant, her composure cool and friendly. Triple J Unearthed profiles the Melbourne songwriter as a lover of "cats, Coopers Sparkling, and her blue 1999 Corolla", and her wry self-deprecation has made her a champion of the local music scene. Yet, it's her wordy power-pop, charismatic videos and a wonderfully familiar voice that entices people into Alex Lahey's world.
It's a world that anyone who has grudgingly headed to work while quietly and lovingly resenting a partner lying in a warm bed can relate to. On "Every Day's The Weekend" she sings, "you sleep in my bed, Even when I'm not at home, I have to make some money While you're in sheets all alone I think about you all the time." Doona envy.
The song's video takes on the struggles of an artist as it follows Lahey working a number of undesirable jobs including a pickle factory foreman, cake decorator and organ donor spruiker. It's these neat observations and a charming "If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?" approach that have become the 25-year-old's trademark.
"I just write about what I've experienced," Lahey explains from her Melbourne home. "I say this again and again because that word relatable comes up a lot when people discuss my music, which is really humbling. I've gone through the same shit as everyone else. Sometimes people ignore just talking about the day-to-day and what happens to us as human beings."
Fresh from a three-day run of production rehearsals for an impending Australian and European album tour, Lahey says it's been fun but tiring. "I've never done anything like it before, it was really fun and awesome but you know that feeling where you just feel like you're jet lagged?" she laughs.
Since her 2016 EP B-Grade University, Lahey has spent much of her time touring nationally and internationally but the real focus of late has been on her debut album I Love You Like A Brother. Released yesterday, it's a confident and buzzy album that switches from brash to pensive. Tracks like "Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder" and "Every Day's The Weekend" give a glimpse of Lahey's punk interests but the album is a solid body of vivacious pop.
Though Lahey helps create the bare bones of her popular and low budget videos, she finds acting uncomfortable. "I hate being in front of the camera. I want to make good film clips and I think I'm getting better at it. It's like the one thing about this job that … it's like that and tax. We procrastinate and try to get out of it." She credits her long time film collaborator Jam Nawaz with how comfortable she ends up coming across on the screen. "I wouldn't look that way if I wasn't working with him."
When asked about her sudden rise in popularity since the release of the EP, Lahey drops a Louis Pasteur quote: "Good fortune favours the prepared mind". It's a question that she's been asked a lot.
"I can sit here and say that I've been doing this for years but I will be honest, it did come together very quickly. At one point and it did feel like it was good fortune."
But she is just as candid when talking about the amount of work artists put into their music. "It's one of those things where you read in the newspaper or hear about so and so coming out of nowhere. They've probably been playing for fucking 12 years and, like, all the shit gigs that they played before then." She says. "I definitely feel like I've had a lifetime of playing music."
I Love You Like A Brother is Lahey's bridge between artist-on-the-rise and bona fide talent and sees her holding her own in a competitive music scene. As Lahey herself says, it can be about getting your dots in a line figuratively speaking, and perhaps the rest is good fortune.
'I Love You Like a Brother' is available now through Caroline Australia and Dead Oceans.