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CD Reviews: The Loved Ones, Horrorpops, and Tim Armstrong

By on Mar 5, 2008 in Music

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Some thoughts on recently purchased CDs:

The Loved Ones – Build & Burn

After listening to The Loved Ones new cd, Build & Burn, I missed the intense drive of Keep Your Heart which begins with pounding drums and an energy-filled yell. I think it’s safe to say that The Loved Ones grew up … at least a little.

On some level this is disappointing since I credit The Loved Ones and their song “Jane” to re-awakening my love of cheesy pop-punk and, in many ways, re-awakening myself. Nonetheless, after a few listens, I have come to really enjoy Build & Burn – and get its songs stuck in my head.

Despite the decrease in intensity, Build & Burn offers all the catchy-ness of Keep Your Heart. “Louisiana”, a song about rebuilding New Orleans, is the first song that stuck in my head. It’s gospel-esque repetition seems fitting for the subject and pulled me in immediately. After my obsessive singing of Louisiana, the next song to catch me was “Pretty Good Year”. The catalyst for my love of this song, I believe, is the very good lyric: I’m reinventing happiness again. Amen.

The Horrorpops – Kiss Kiss Kill Kill

My first impression of The Horrorpops third album, Kiss Kiss Kill Kill, was that it was the link between The Horrorpop’s more rockabilly and psychobilly first album, Hell Yeah, and their pop-punk influenced second album, Bring It On!: a little harder and more rockabilly than Bring It On! and more pop-punk-esque than Hell Yeah.

Like Build & Burn from The Loved Ones, I thought that Kiss Kiss Kill Kill lacked the drive of their previous album, Bring It On! After seeing them live, I realized that part of this was the use of one guitarist as a opposed to two. Especially live, some of the songs fell a little flat without another guitarist.

Regardless, this is a rocking album … surely far more rock ‘n roll than any of the popular punk bands out there. Patricia’s voice, as usual, has the perfect tone, scratchiness, and volume for the music. I think she has one of the best rock n roll voices out their today.

Truthfully, my biggest beef with the album is some of the lyrics. For example, the second song on the album, “MissFit,” has the line:

And I’m, I’m from the wrong side of town,
Now frown,
On top of that I’m female.

While I love and appreciate the sentiment of the lyric – the intersection of class and gender and the double prejudice that comes with it – I find that the word “female” stands out every time I hear it – and not in a good way. It’s like reading a book and finding yourself correcting grammar and awkward sentences: distracting, to say the least.

This isn’t an isolated incident either. There’s the song “Copenhagen Refugee.” Again, I relate to the theme of best friendships falling apart when one person moves forward in their life, even if it’s in a direction that both desired. But, come on. Copenhagen Refugee?? That has to be one of the most 15-year-old-I-just-learned-about-punk-lame lyrics ever. Sorry but it’s true.

However, the more I listen to the album the more I’m able to let the obnoxious lyrics go and enjoy the power of the music and appreciate the theme of the songs. Despite my bitchy, obsessive, nit-pickiness, I would definitely recommend this record.

Tim Armstrong – A Poet’s Life

It seems that more and more I find myself having “God I’m old” moments. Often these occur when I find out about a band or album way after it’s come out. Discovering that Tim Armstrong had put out a solo album was one of those moments.

In my own defense (and in an attempt to make myself feel better), I haven’t bought a Rancid album in years and I haven’t really been into one since …And Out Come the Wolves. Everything since then has just seemed like the same old, same old.

This made me pretty excited that Tim was doing something new. Apparently, he started making songs available to download for free while fans waited for the new Rancid album. Fans responded so positively to the songs, especially “No Action”, that he decided to release the songs as a solo album.

The album, A Poet’s Life, is like a reggae version of Operation Ivy. Tim’s husky, smoker’s voice lends a rock n roll-ness to the reggae music. Combined with female vocals on “No Action,” it stands heads above the other songs.

A Poet’s Life didn’t knock my socks off but it is the perfect album far chilling (preferably with a cold beer) after a long, grueling day.

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