What makes an album great? Is it the slick production that gets you? Maybe it’s the goosebumps that show up when you’re cruising down a dark highway and you hear a melody that just wont escape your head.
For me, it can be simple at times to tell when an album is great. The instruments will blend together like they were born for each other. In the same sense, vocals will sound like they don’t need any instrumental accompaniment to make sense and the lyrics that make an instant impact.
But usually, it takes a much more complicated scenario combined with the above to formulate what I consider to be a “great” album. Sometimes it’s a carefully choreographed soundscape consisting of one crunching guitar resounding through my left ear – while my right side is treated to a glistening lead guitar riff full of reverb and treble. One factor that remains consistent is the need for me to listen to the album over and over (when I wake up all I want is to hear that one part of that one song).
This “complicated” scenario can be found all over Lovedrug’s latest release titled Wild Blood. To categorize Lovedrug as an alternative band or even put them somewhere near the rock genre immediately places restraints on a group of artists that have developed an album worthy of being described as entrancingly ingenious. Wild Blood combines beauty, sadness, virtue, energy and hope into an album that constantly blurs genres and rules.
One of my favorite tracks of the last year can be found on this album, the prehistorically named Dinosaur. It starts with the bold lyric, “Fever – drugs – money – blood. Is it bad for love?”. Dinosaur is a very different song both lyrically and musicaly compared to what I would usually consider to be my favorite cut on an album. The chugging rhythm guitar is answered with a clean lead guitar melody that gets you prepared for the chorus. “We were dinosaurs in the end…like we’d opt out of survival in lieu of some survival pretense”, referring to a companionship doomed from the start for extinction – something every romantic can relate to with a past relationship. In the middle of the song lead singer Michael Shepard whispers “we were”, making sure you are still listening and ready to be haunted for the rest of the cut.
Listen to Dinosaur here:
Another standout track, Pink Champagne, begins with circling cymbals and solid snare drum snaps. Everything feels like a pop song trudging through molasses until the chorus hits and everything changes. “Sure shot – you were always my sure shot” – describes someone whose guaranteed plans fell completely apart. As with every song on Wild Blood, this track combines solid rhythm work with a remarkable vocal melody. Happiness can be found in the sadness (at least for the listener) because of the melancholic beauty trembling from this track.
Listen to Pink Champagne here:
Other notable tracks include the simplistically epic Premonition, the insanely catchy Your Country and the tender ballad Girl where Shepard’s vocals have never sounded better.
Overall this album contains some serious guitar work coupled with impressive drumming and solid bass backing. The vocals are on a whole different level as most songs could be listened to with no instrumentation needed. While Shepard previously resembled a young Billy Corgan, on Wild Blood he has found a home for his voice. That home is right at the point where beauty and chaos meet.
*Recommended if you like: Muse, Thrice – Beggars, and anything from piano rock to 90’s alternative
Download this album here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wild-blood/id496739871