“Trampoline” gives Mayfair Laundry fans a rush of ’90s alt-rock nostalgia, but the band’s new single also provides something that’s lacking in today’s popular music. With guitar-forward riffs and solid drum beats, “Trampoline” re-energizes the realness and reinvention of the ’90s through a here-and-now twenty-twenties style. This fresh-yet-familiar sound epitomizes the band’s approach to its new album, Re, on Los Angeles-based CatBeach Music.
Mayfair Laundry has reinvented ’90s restlessness for a new generation, but that’s only part of the story. As the band’s first album in more than 20 years, Re also explores the weight of unfinished business.
Mayfair Laundry guitarist Frank Sandoval, drummer David Snow and bassist Paul Dexter became close friends and collaborators in middle school, heading out on their first national tour as young teens. Their breakthrough came after recruiting a female singer for a new project, Mayfair Laundry, named after a delivery truck seen in footage of the Beatles’ final rooftop concert. As part of the O.C. scene that helped break ’90s punk and ska, Mayfair Laundry released two albums of punk-spirited pop rock that hit the singles charts with “Lovely Feet” and “New and Improved.”
Dreams of breakthrough were finally realized, but it wasn’t the reality they all imagined, and the stress of constant touring and record label pressure led to division. Paul and his future wife Kim Sipus Dexter – a successful solo artist, pianist and songwriter who took over vocal duties shortly after the Scrub debut – had to move forward with new band members. The follow-up New and Improved built on the earlier success, and Kim’s vocal prowess shined bright, but the band felt incomplete without Frank and David.
Mayfair Laundry became inactive in 2006, but everyone continued to make music. Kim released two solo albums, Paul picked up Grammy and Dove award nominations as a producer, and Frank and David did session work. Through these projects, each former Mayfair member grew as artists, songwriters and people, which led to the inevitable question, “What would Mayfair Laundry sound like now?”
Paul hadn’t spoken with Frank in more than two decades, but apparently everyone was asking that same question. A series of in-person meetings led to songwriting sessions, and the need to take the next step soon became undeniable. As Kim beautifully sings in the new single, “The past can eat you alive or launch you into space like a trampoline.”
The revitalized Mayfair Laundry committed to taking no shortcuts. The band repeatedly wrote, demoed, rewrote and refined songs like the tempo-building “Get to You,” the chorus-heavy “Meanwhile” and the positivity vibed “Beautiful Colors” until all four members agreed they were Mayfair’s best yet. Kim plays keys (as well as guitar) on the album, but Re generally avoids an over-digitized and synthesized sound in favor of pure pop-rock energy recorded in the legendary EastWest Studios, home to some of the most critically acclaimed and bestselling albums in music history.
“Re is a highly produced album, but we wanted to do more with less and refrain from doing more than what the songs actually needed,” says Paul, who also handled production duties. “We limited the use of programming and electronics, for example, but we recreated the appeal of these sounds using organic instruments to give them a dynamic live feel. This approach allowed us to make an album that comes across as both modern and authentic.”
On social media, Mayfair Laundry teased the idea that they’re back, but that might not be the best description because no one in the band is actually looking back. Rather, this is Mayfair Laundry moving forward from a new place to finish what they started. The original timeline had been cut short, but Re starts a new timeline, and the band is determined to define it by one thing and one thing only: making great new music together.