Wide Right’s lead singer Leah Archibald could be the daughter of Heart’s Ann Wilson. She has a similar timbre to Wilson during her “Barracuda” period, and a similar penchant for hard-bitten hard rock, lady-style. But Wide Right’s second album, Sleeping on the Couch, is dominated by lyrical motifs foreign to most indie rock: While most of Archibald’s contemporaries are singing about broken hearts and mushroom trips, Archibald sings about the working class life in her hometown of Buffalo, NY, as well as being a single mother, struggling to pay bills, and flattened peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.
The sometimes-downtrodden lyrics could come off as attempting to elicit pity, but Archibald’s style is so matter-of-fact and often funny that the listener wouldn’t dare feel sorry for her. It makes sense that Archibald would cover songs by another no-nonsense woman: The coal miner’s daughter herself, Loretta Lynn. Wide Right covers Lynn’s 1975 classic ode to contraception, “The Pill.” “Mini skirts and hot pants / And a few little fancy frills, ” Archibald sings with AC-DC-worthy verve, “I’m making up for all those years ’cause now I got the pill.”
Though Archibald, along with Dave Rick on guitar and Brendan O’Malley on drums, has relocated from the rust belt of Buffalo to Brooklyn, the city is still close to her heart. A high point of Sleeping on the Couch is “Junior High School Dream,” where Archibald describes her type as a “Midwestern guy who plays guitar and wears his hair in his eyes,” and says, “I’m thirty-seven going on thirteen / He’s my junior high school dream.” Sleeping on the Couch comes out on Brooklyn’s Pop Top records on June 14th.