Lovewar released their debut album Soak Your Brain in 1993. But before it could create waves, public tastes changed from melodic hard rock to grunge, dooming Lovewar and many other amazing bands of that time.
Fortunately, due to the miracle of crowd-funding, the band was able to finally record and release the follow-up album they wrote in the mid-’90s.
And it sounds fantastic.
Actually it sounds better than fantastic. Guitarist Tim Bushong is known locally for getting amazing guitar tones from the bands he records, and he goes all-in on their sophomore release. Listen to the opening riff of “Upside Your Face” and you’ll hear an overdriven guitar so thick and nuanced you won’t be able to stop from smiling. The guitar riff ain’t nothing to shake a stick at, either.
Together with Greg Purlee on drums and Rick Armstrong on bass, Lovewar has brought a piece of the past into the present with 11 top-notch songs recorded with today’s sonic technology, so everything pops. And the energy… I’m close to the age of these guys, but I would have to overdose on Geritol to summon up this kind of vitality. The massive guitar riffs of this three-piece band make comparisons to King’s X very apt as the music is heavy with vocal harmonies and often contain a strong groove. I’m hearing some Extreme, some 1984-era Van Halen, and surely I’m not imagining the Kevin Gilbert influence on “Who I Am.”
Packed with punishing wah-pedal abuse, the immense swagger of “Mercy” will cause even the lame to boogie, while the bass gets to shine on “Tuxedo Alligator,” at least until the chorus when razor-sharp guitar chords cut through the swampy groove. And if you don’t blow a speaker in your minivan listening to “Candle,” then you might want to check your pulse.
I’ve only listened to this album a few times and I keep finding their songs stuck in my head. While there really isn’t anything groundbreaking or trendy on Lovewar, each of the 11 songs are done astoundingly well, whether it’s the actual songcraft itself, the playing, or the recording.
This is definitely the kind of music that you crank up in your mid-life-crisis convertible as you cruise the square.