Friday, 15 January 2010

The Loved Ones
Build and Burn
Fat Wreck Chords
Rating: 4/5

With their debut album, Keep Your Heart, the Loved Ones became my favourite punk band. Having caught them at Reading 2007 (receiving a cut and a black eye in a circle pit into the bargain), I heard 'The Bridge' off the new album and ordered it as soon as I got home. So what to say about it? Keep Your Heart was always going to be hard to beat (my favourite punk album, and amongst my favourite albums of all time): it had not a single bad song on it, and at least four incredible ones- 'Suture Self', 'Jane', 'Living (Will Get You Dead)' and 'Player Hater Anthem'.

What then does Build and Burn add? There is only one bad song: the closer, 'I Swear'. As on Keep Your Heart there are four brilliant songs; 'Pretty Good Year', 'The Inquirer', 'The Bridge', and 'Louisiana'. The addition of Dave Walsh to the line up on lead guitar also adds a new dimension to their sound that is most evident on single 'The Bridge', far and away the best song on the album.

The arrangements throughout are uncluttered, and the chord sequences are well put together. It's all very catchy, but not in a way that feels affected, and as always Dave Hause's vocals cut through the mix with a forcefulness and power that sets this band apart. It'd be easy for them to slide into angsty nonsense like a lot of punk bands, but the lyrics for the most part are actually pretty good, and show a degree of development from their previous effort. "Are we paranoid, or basically ok?" asks Hause on 'The Inquirer'. Probably. You've managed another great album Dave, and I can't wait for the next.

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