Restorations Credit: Emily Dubin

The best emo bands are the ones led by artists who follow the genre tradition of using music as a tool for self-examination in a lifelong quest toward maturity and growth, and capturing specific moments of personal evolution each time time their band cuts an album. On September’s LP5000 (Tiny Engines), Philadelphia fivesome Restorations sound like the same great band that for a decade has been translating blue-collar Springsteenisms into bursts of well-fed emo catharsis. The difference between their albums is in the small details, and with the recent LP5000, it’s in their lyrical exploration of that revelatory moment in your mid-30s where you stop focusing on just yourself and start establishing a new life with a family (and all the minutiae that come with that). On two of the best tracks on the record, “Remains” and “The Red Door,” Restorations wrestle with gentrification, and they do so on a molecular, everyday level, capturing what it is to feel powerless against the forces that erase communities of color and build spotless spaces for the wealthy. Restorations put forth no solutions, but their clear-eyed, forceful songs offer fuel for those fighting seemingly hopeless struggles, and suggest that some resolution is possible through a lifetime dedicated to improving the world around you.   v