Credit: Carlos Lowenstein

A couple weeks before Lifeguard played Horsegirl’s record-release show at Thalia Hall in June, I ran into drummer Isaac Lowenstein and bassist Asher Case while walking through the Logan Square Farmers Market with my family. My parents asked what kind of music they make, and we all had a little trouble coming up with a concise answer—Lifeguard move through lots of styles, and that’s what drew me to them when I heard their 2020 debut album, Dive. They’re loud in a smart, subversive way, and their varied approaches to melody and heaviness telegraph their knowledge of postpunk, garage, indie rock, and hardcore without being too showy about it. They also play well together: Lowenstein, Case, and guitarist-vocalist Kai Slater give their music a communal euphoria that drives it as surely as Case’s propulsive bass or Lowenstein’s keyed-up drumming. That energy has been key to Lifeguard’s evolution. The loose, smoldering sound of Dive gave way to a tighter but more melancholy feel on seven-inches issued by Chunklet in March 2021 (“Receiver” b/w “Sun Ra Jane”) and March 2022 (“Taking Radar” b/w “Loose Cricket”). On the new EP Crowd Can Talk, released via righteous Chicago rock label Born Yesterday, Lifeguard seem to have figured out who they are as a band—even though they might take a left turn tomorrow. Slater is a magnetic front man whose dry holler and taut riffs tie together his bandmates’ animated, occasionally contorted rhythms and bring out the subtle sweetness in the trio’s work. Crowd Can Talk demonstrates Lifeguard’s underground rock bona fides, and rambunctious opener “New Age (I’ve Got A)” bursts with charming hooks.

Lifeguard Fruit Leather and Domino open. Sat 8/6, 7:30 PM, Color Club, 4146 N. Elston, $17, $15 in advance, all ages