While scrolling through Instagram, I came upon a new indie band with a small following of loyal fans. Not knowing what to expect, I started listening to Litvar’s songs and fell in love with the band of characters and stories that Rex Thurstan and Joe Lemieux created. After officially forming their band in February, the duo later released their first full-length album “The Greatest Movie of All Time” Sept. 25. You can find the album on Spotify and Apple Music.
The album was derived from ideas of the early 2000s, centered around love taking place around the usage of AOL (America Online). “You’ve Got Mail,” “World Wide Web,” “Andy2008 Is Online” are some of the songs from the album that are centered around the early days of instant messaging and the internet. Despite the early 2000s narrative, I feel like the youth of today can relate to the band’s lyrics, especially since COVID-19 has forced many relationships online, due to social distancing regulations.
“We’ve been thinking about this album as a time machine,” Lemieux said. “We started working on [the album] when COVID hit, and it’s been our way to go back to a time when everything felt simple. Kind of an escape from the pressures of the world that we hope others will also take shelter in.”
Litvar’s music is stellar, but what drew me to the band was their ability to tell a story. The album follows characters Andy and Beverly, and allows listeners to experience their doomed relationship. The songs aren’t just derived from the lives of a fictitious cast, but also represent the artists’ battles with anxiety, depression and addictions. Listeners can find solace within this personal album; it’s definitely an album that many can relate to.
“Making the music, that is my heaven,” Thurstan said. “I love making something out of thin air, its magic.”
The Connecticut music scene originally brought Thurstan and Lemieux together, where they played for separate bands. While the duo enjoys Connecticut’s small music following, they hope to tour in places where their fans reside like Michigan, Northern California, Georgia, Missouri, Australia and the UK.
“The push and pull that Rex and I have in the studio is amazing to me,” Lemieux said. “We’re similar people, but we also have contrasting tastes, and to me, that’s what makes the music so good. There’s this back and forth of us working together, where we drive ourselves to be the best producers we can be, which has led to my favorite debut album of all time.”
Thurstan focuses on vocals and plays bass guitar while Lemieux plays the drums. Both musicians have produced songs from the debut album. The duo claims their musical differences and similar histories have encouraged their partnership.
“Joe is very analytical, bringing a lot of logic and reason to the process,” Thurstan said. “It’s helpful because most of the time, on my end, I could take flight with my crazy ideas for songs. But Joe is also very ambitious like that too, so we match each other wonderfully.”
Their fanbase has expanded since the start of their group, and I think the duo’s interaction with their social media followers and their welcoming personalities have contributed to that.
“[Making new fans] is very exciting, we all connect on similar things, ” Thurstan said. “My favorite thing is seeing [fans] make friends with each other in the community, it really bonds the whole group together.”
The band hopes that their platform will help emphasize important issues such as mental health, identity and Black Lives Matters. I love that the album, and the band itself, doesn’t sugarcoat any realistic issues. “Hi I’m Andy” is my favorite track, consisting of 90’s vibes and lyrics that encapsulate the downfall of young love and life. The duo preaches coming of age themes in ways that today’s generation can relate to heavily.
“We’ve never been focused on getting shallow streams of our tunes, it’s always finding one more person like us,” Lemieux said. “Someone who can relate to what we’ve been through and what our music stands for. ‘The Family’ as we call it, is more than a safe space, it’s people that aren’t afraid to take a stand, that are comfortable shouting Black Lives Matter, and can use their real names and pronouns with this expanding community, outside the judgment of their respective families and upbringings.”
The album isn’t just ten tracks of great music, it also allows listeners to get a glimpse of the personalities and lives of two up-and-coming musicians. I urge music lovers to take a break from listening to mainstream pop and start diving into the stories and songs that Litvar has created.