Five albums in and Chastity Belt have become more punk in spirit than sound. Whilst they began life on the noisier end of the spectrum, they’ve been a dreamy, reflective group for the better part of a decade now. The paltry cliché, Live Laugh Love, might seem an insubstantial motto for a band that are no strangers to plumbing emotional depths, but they found comfort in its breezy simplicity and exhortation to keep on keeping on. It may have started as a joke, but over the course of this album’s gestation it ended up all too real.

Live Laugh Love is a languid, measured affair, beginning almost in media res on ‘Hollow’ with its chilled air. The arrangements are plodding and considered here, matching the intensity of feeling, but rarely reflecting the emotional highs and lows. One notable exception is on ‘Funny’ when the band come together to match the euphoria of Julia Shapiro’s delivery of “I spend so much time with my head up in the clooooooooooouuuuuuuds.” Some of the album’s best moments utilise sparse, low-key arrangements that accentuate the lyrical concerns, as on ‘Laugh’ or ‘Clumsy’.

As proud Pacific Northwesterners, there are plenty of touchstones peppered throughout Live Laugh Love. Sometimes it’s musical, as in the grungey, moody chords of ‘Blue’ or the storytelling lilt on standout ‘I-90 Bridge’ that reminds of Damien Jurado or early ’90s K Records alums. Sometimes it’s even literal as on the latter song’s explicit Seattle details, but often it’s simply the feel of the album. It can be a little morose and gloomy (‘Kool-Aid’, ‘Chemtrails’, ‘Clumsy’), but the sun still peeks through in the band’s optimism, even if they don’t always truly believe it. And while they tackle personal concerns with admirable sincerity, there’s still space for humour (see: album cover).

Chastity Belt no longer need to shout or blow the speakers to make themselves heard (bar a few discordant guitar scrapes on ‘Kool-Aid’). Live Laugh Love is evidence that you can mature without losing any of the ambition that defines you, that you can be serious without slipping into cynicism, that mining a vapid slogan for crumbs of meaning is more helpful than a dismissive sneer.