Album Review
The Loved Ones - Distractions Album Cover

The Loved Ones - Distractions

Reviewed by
The Loved Ones - Distractions
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Release Date: February 3, 2009
Keeping in tune with the current slate of punk rock all-Americans, it's only natural for a band from the first U.S. capital of Philadelphia to be on the verge of breaking through, a la The Gaslight Anthem.

Composed of former members from hardcore punk groups, the Loved Ones were one of the first bands to receive acclaim with the raspy-voiced "punktry" sound (a blend of country and punk music) for a melodic yet aggressive sound. Last year, the band released Build & Burn, a collection of songs that continued the same style with cleaner production, based more around the pop-punk grandeur their label experienced in the 1990's.

For their latest release, the 6-song EP, entitled Distractions, the Loved Ones have seized the opportunity to grasp the melodic bones in their bodies to milk them for all they're worth. "Distracted" is a breezy number concerning physical abuse in relationships ("Can she save herself from the nightmare he's become?"), driven by Chris Gonsalez's bass rhythm, Dave Hause's gruff yet understanding vocal ability, and a stream of consistent percussion from Mike Sneeringer. As "Last Call" starts, with it's Elton John-like piano introduction, it's clear the band is trying out some different things, going for a pop-driven harmonious sound. What's great about that is, it works (the organ/piano mix from Franz Nicolay adds a layer of depth to their straightforward sound).

From the three freshly-recorded tracks, we get a very impressive look into the Loved Ones' future, which could provide some massive airplay & recognition if they are sent in the right direction. While the curtain is only lifted for a brief second, it's certainly a preview worth noting, as the band could very well set off a wave with their next full-length ("Last Call" has the sort of hook that could get them deserved success). Old fans may not like the slicker production and emphasis on hooks, however it suits their style and truly works in the bands' favor.

"Spy Diddley," an outtake from the Keep Your Heart sessions is an indication of how much the band has changed (not just in member status), judging from how fast-paced and belligerent it sounds compared to the newer, more relaxed cuts. Their Billy Bragg cover, "Lovers Town Revisited," is a quick & rambunctious full-band number full of good time sentiments, and "Johnny 99," a cover of a classic Bruce Springsteen track, is a perfect fit considering these hard economic times. Both tracks were recorded during the same sessions as "Spy Diddley," but sound amazing -- especially the one-take recording of "Johnny 99," which features Hause solo on an electric guitar, perhaps accompanied by a glass of Jack and a cigarette burning on a windowsill.

The EP's highlight comes from the Joe Strummer cover, "Coma Girl." Yes, there are three covers here (the liner notes provide some words from Hause about why each song was chosen), each one done out of respect and performed in unique ways, with "Coma Girl" standing out in front. Anytime you can picture a setting in your head, an environment where the song would fit best, it's the kind of track you can revisit over & over, and never tire of. An acoustic-based jam session, the song is a salute to one of music's most beloved frontmen and gives a warm buzz to shake the snow from your boots.

Expect big things on the horizon for the Loved Ones, as they propel their sound into a new breed of working-class American people, eager for hope, reaffirmation and grit. "That's all, that's all," sings Hause on "Last Call." "Let me know when this all sinks in."

Um, yes -- sunk in and ready for more, please.

Recommended if You LikeThe Gaslight Anthem; Sundowner; The Loved Ones' Keep Your Heart; covers of great songwriters/performers.
Choice Cuts"Coma Girl," "Last Call" and "Johnny 99."

Tracklisting1. Distracted
2. Last Call
3. Spy Diddley
4. Johnny 99
5. Lovers Town Revisited
6. Coma Girl
Band MembersDave Hause: vocals/guitar
Mike Sneeringer: drums
Dave Walsh: guitar
Chris Gonzalez: bass/vocals
Franz Nicolay: paino/organ

Online VitalsOfficial Site | Official Myspace
PurchaseAmazon MP3
This review is a user submitted review from smoke4thecaper. You can see all of smoke4thecaper's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 37
05:50 AM on 01/28/09
May your music break my ear drums
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ugman_2000's Avatar
Didn't know this EP had so many covers on it, sounds like it's pretty cool I need to hunt myself a copy down soon
06:14 AM on 01/28/09
Andy Adores Alliteration
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prefix-core's Avatar
I really can't wait to get my grubby hands on this. Great review. Any word on whether or not "Spy Diddley" is a re-recording? Or is it the same version that was released on the on-line Fat Wreck comp a few years back?
07:20 AM on 01/28/09
We shouldnt have abandoned dreaming
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jtyexists9's Avatar
Good review, I am going to have to give these guys and this EP a listen.
07:44 AM on 01/28/09
Coffeebreath & Heartache
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Jacktheskipper's Avatar
I really can`t wait to get my hands on this ...
08:14 AM on 01/28/09
just a quiet evening
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aloneatlastnj's Avatar
wowowow chris. you must've been PUMPED to receive this. review is making me excited to hear this!
08:39 AM on 01/28/09
Go AWAY! Batin'!
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Justin_stacy's Avatar
I really can't wait to get my grubby hands on this. Great review. Any word on whether or not "Spy Diddley" is a re-recording? Or is it the same version that was released on the on-line Fat Wreck comp a few years back?
they are saying its a cleaned up remastered version, lyrically its the same.
09:07 AM on 01/28/09
Eurotrash Drock
Registered User
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No Avatar Selected
good review, ive been waiting for this. and been meaning to check out sundowner...
09:24 AM on 01/28/09
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CellarGhosts's Avatar
good review, chris. really looking forward to hearing this.
09:43 AM on 01/28/09
Anarchist Cat Owner
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AP_Punk's Avatar
rad EP. and good review!
10:04 AM on 01/28/09
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llmp's Avatar
This album almost slipped right by me...
10:05 AM on 01/28/09
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PlacesToGo's Avatar
they are better than the gaslight anthem for sure.
10:16 AM on 01/28/09
Go AWAY! Batin'!
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Justin_stacy's Avatar
No they aren't, but they do have potential to be just as big.
10:28 AM on 01/28/09
You need human heat
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owiseone35's Avatar
This is a great band I'm excited for this new release. I agree with the above comment they should and do have the potential to be just as big.
11:09 AM on 01/28/09
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whyte39's Avatar
franz nicolay is in this band too? he is a machine with world/inferno, and the hold steady.

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