Lovedrug - Wild Blood
Record Label - Self-Released / American Dream (Vinyl)
Release Date - March 6, 2012
Some records make themselves great by encompassing diversity around a particular genre. Others find a home in a certain vibe and while not quite as diversified are able to translate that vibe into something not only enjoyable, but ultimately relatable. Lovedrug’s new LP Wild Blood is a prime example of the latter. While certainly not a one-trick pony or a commanding race horse, the warmly glowing guitar melodies and smooth vocals make this worthy of a spin during a sun-soaked summer’s drive.
Lovedrug’s command of melody is what drives Wild Blood deep into your memory. The titular opener sounds like a loop, but its infectious guitar lines are tough to shake off when paired with steady, confident drumming. The chorus is what seals the deal though, as vocal melodies weave around these guitar line and create a web of optimism. “Pink Champagne” boasts similar vibes, using a solid rhythm section to back the sparse melodies that seemingly hit just as smoothly before bursting open with the chorus. Vocally, this one is a little hit and miss to anchor the track, as it would be nice to see guitarist/vocalist Michael Shepard open some of these lines up a bit more. Shepard’s poeticism is certainly appreciative though, as his wordplay and bouncing back and forth between that and dropping golden hooks (“Premonition”) only bolster the strength of many of these songs rather than dilute them with goofy metaphors and missed opportunities.
The acoustic-led “Girl” seems a better fit for the slightly shaking vocals, adding some light instrumentation in the form of strings to bolster the apexing chorus of the track. It is this structure and sound that is perfect for the slightly restrained vocal melodies heard throughout this album. “Great Divide” though shows the slower tempos don’t give the band’s sound as much justice as heard on earlier tracks, as the sparser melodies and laid-back drumming just don’t have the same effect as the toe-tap worthy songs we’ve already heard. Other switch-ups make up for it though, as the cadence-like drumming pushing “We Were Owls” is simple, yet strangely entrancing given a lack of cymbals and leniency towards repetition throughout in terms of songwriting. The tracks sunburst closing make its worth it though, with searing guitars to boot.
The only real qualm I can see with Wild Blood lies in perhaps the tendency to restrain things across the board perhaps a little too much. It doesn’t always sound that way, as a number of these tracks bring huge, bright choruses with vocal lines that shoot to the sky. But it would be nice to hear a little more vocal variety here and there. Sure, a song like the buzzing “Dinosaur” harnesses the low-brow vocals nicely under a veil of clicking rim hits and noodling guitars, but Shepard doesn’t hide that he can sing on Wild Blood – and the album would benefit from him perhaps taking a few risks in that department.
The interesting thing about Wild Blood lies in that it is incredibly easy to get sucked into the looping guitar melodies and overall sunny vibes this album gives off, even if the overall progression of structures and ideas tends to lend itself to only a handful of branches. But while Wild Blood isn’t some re-invention of summertime indie-rock, it is still a strong album you’ll be hard pressed to get out of your head.
Does anyone else hear the odd way he pronounces "s" sounds? It's like he's got a big wad of gum in his mouth or something. I'm not saying this facetiously - I honestly just want to know if anyone else notices it or if I'm going insane...
Wow! Most disappointing review I've read in a long time. It reads kind of like the album wasn't given the attention it deserves before the review was written. This album absolutely deserves a higher rating. Mid-high 80s at least. There no doubt it's going to be one of the best albums of the year in my book.