This Love – At War
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: August 2, 2011
“I realize the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war -- and frequently the words of the pursuers fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.”
–John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy’s cry for peace spoken during his American University Speech on June 10, 1963, Robert F. Kennedy’s remarks on the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and even President Barack Obama’s words after the death of Osama bin Laden are the foundation of At War, the highly anticipated debut record from This Love. As a record about overcoming the battles and trials of everyday life, the overall concept of this record, especially the speeches and history pieces, will hit hard with every listener, as we all fight a different battle each day. The political speech pieces add a depth to At War by making it an incredibly captivating experience. Embedded within the opening “One,” within the haunting interlude of “Good Will,” and within the final “We All Know Well, it is these moments that embellish the theme and movement This Love convey, truly tying the record together.
“Free” is the first taste of actual music here, and This Love waste no time showing off how much they’ve grown since The Beginning. Armed with uplifting lyrics and technical instrumentation, “Free” is a call to arms – a cry for independence. Vocalist Joe McFaddin leads the battle on “Shoot Out” on what may be the most memorable chorus on the record. The echoes of “All I see is war” are haunting yet endearing, as it’s moments like these when the record really hits home, with the music and lyrics coming together to have a genuine meaning and purpose.
“We Are The Brave” is sure to be a fan favorite and could readily be featured in any war video throughout the year – and hopefully will be. In this way, it’s the middle of the record that really shines. JFK’s speech on “Good Will” is accompanied by chilling violins, leading perfectly into the compelling single, “Motions.” A perfect choice for the single, at that, “Motions” has it all – the guitar work is at the pinnacle of all guitar parts on the album (especially on the solo) and the vocal delivery has to be the more memorable here than any other point on the record.
This Love slow things down with “Fly Away” and “Alive,” each allowing McFaddin’s vocals to be the highlighted aspect. On the latter, Jake Rinehart’s drumming really shines and paces the track. The final “We All Know Well” consists of soft guitar play behind President Obama’s address to the nation concerning bin Laden’s death, creating the heaviest moment on At War. As McFaddin’s vocals are heard over Obama’s words as he sings, “These chains are finally gone / There’s no one to tell me no / I’m my own man now,” the war is over. As the record ends, a message of hope – a message of revival – is engrained.
At this point one thing is certain, for a debut record, At War will without a doubt be remembered as one of the year’s most important pop-rock record. The speech tie-ins add a sense of poignancy and drive previously unheard from the band. As a record that needs to be heard as a cohesive unit, At War proves that This Love aren’t about to stop fighting any time soon, as it sounds nothing like a debut record. As arguably the most important, impressive debut records in the pop-rock genre of 2011, At War will open the ears and eyes of many to a world where having hope is more possible than ever.