Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Everything Starts Where It Ends (Dig)
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Metal
Listen to Samples
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2.5 Stars... Untapped Potential
Nathan Knapp_Voronwë | Seattle | 03/19/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The first time I heard a Lovedrug song was nearly two years ago. As the opening melodies of "Blackout" drifted through my ears, I was awestruck by the painful beauty that the band portrayed so well, with Michael Shepard's artsy vocals soaring above rip-your-heart-out, beautiful guitars. That song came off of their 2004 release, Pretend You're Alive, which upon its release became The Militia Group's fastest selling album, charting at #4 and #43 on Billboard's Internet and Independent charts respectively. The band toured relentlessly in promotion of that record, and has since played over 300 shows.
Enthused by the brilliant start, Columbia Records upstreamed the band with plans for a 2005 re-release, before widely publicized instability and a revolving door of key figures at the label took its toll. Eventually Lovedrug was granted release from Columbia, taking with them new recordings began with Pretend producer Tim Patalan in between tours in late '05 and '06. The new album's title, Everything Starts Where it Ends, seems to indicate that the band is still ready, in the words of Shepard, "to become the biggest band in the world."
One of the most noticeable differences between Everything Starts is the approach that the band took to their songwriting. "The writing process was just way different this time around," Shepard explains. "There was less of the spontaneity that took place on Pretend, where I'd tend to just sit at the piano and write. On this record everything's more methodical." And while I'm all for having a focused sound, this growing trend for bands to be as methodical as possible bothers me to a point. On one hand, the result is that all of the songs on the record have a cohesive form, but sometimes the record feels passionless. Of course, in saying that I'm not referring to the lyrics, which seem to dwell almost exclusively on themes of anger, despair, and loneliness.
Many things on this album stand out more than Pretend: the music is more rock-oriented, the guitar-tones are hotter, and Shepard's vocals are all over the place. The problem is, this mixture doesn't always work. For example, the opener, "Happy Apple Poison," starts off with an off-kilter acoustic guitar riff that pulls the listener in, but sacrifices interestingness for a lackluster chorus that dabbles in a prog-rock sound that feels a little out of place. At times, "Pushing the Shine" reminds me of Blindside's more recent work (and no, I didn't think I'd ever reference those Swedish rockers in a Lovedrug review), with manic vocals and screeching guitars. The next two tracks, "Castling," and "Thieving" are more of a return to the piano rock of Pretend but are largely forgettable.
The middle of the album follows the unremarkable trend up until the final three tracks. "Salt of the Earth" opens with the haunting sound of a rattling chain and features huge ambient riffs evocative of Radiohead. "American Swimming Lesson" is the hardest rocker on the album with Shepard's frenzied vocals rising almost to a scream as the guitars rip through the song. He lampoons the American dream during the chorus:
You are following
You were hoping to find something to shine
But you are out of your mind
to be so in love with this capitol world
The album closes on a slightly more hopeful note with the title track, a slowly building ballad that shows a lot of post-rock influence as it clocks out at about seven minutes and Shepard sings:
All this will start where it ends
Wake up, you're alive
We're on your side
Although Everything Starts Where It Ends is an ambitious step for a band so young, and at times shows the brilliance so present on Pretend You're Alive, overall it feels forced and, ultimately, disappointing. Buy this album if you're a diehard fan. If you're simply new and curious, and encourage you to either buy a copy of Pretend You're Alive. One has to wonder what might have happened if the approach had been different, because the potential for greatness is obviously there.
Brian | California | 06/10/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"On Lovedrug's shockingly good "Pretend You're Alive", the band did everything right. The songwriting was surprisingly talented, the instrumentation was skilled if not innovative, the melodies were inspiring, and the crooning was cathartic at times. Songs like "Blackout" and "Pretend You're Alive" hinted at greatness. That album might have been their "Pablo Honey". And of course, they did wear their influences on their sleeves.
Instead, Lovedrug made a more middle-of-the-road alternative rock album. Whereas on the first album, Matthew Shephard sounded like Thom Yorke and the drummer sounded like Eric Judy, the band now seems unsure of who to mimic - Muse, Radiohead, Placebo? I actually predicted this a few months ago - I saw them live twice during the fall/winter of 2006, and Lovedrug's new material was very jammy and almost over-emotive. There is such a thing as trying too hard.
Now, as a disclaimer, nothing I've said above discounts this record. It is good of course, as much of rock music can be passingly good. I just no longer see anything setting Lovedrug apart in contemporary music.
Round 2: Astonishing
B. Cravens | Florida | 03/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lovedrug amazes listeners again with the second release of a full-length LP. Pretend, their last album, focused on soft sounds and had few "hard" songs, but all of their music resembled the passion in their band. With this album, Everything Starts Where it Ends, Lovedrug kicks up the passion-notch with focuses more on harder songs that dish out much more emotion (and not to mention professionalism) than on Pretend while still being able to sound like Lovedrug. Although the songs are more rock-based here, the band still is able to maintain the Indie-Rock genre title as with their last album. Sheppard's lyrics are easy to learn and complex to analyze, however they encompass what seems to be all struggles and truths of life, and their music is a perfect backbone to this (David and Mike's grungy yet soft-epicness ring throughout each song). I guarantee this album will play throughout your head during the day according to your thoughts and feelings, because Lovedrug's Everything Starts Where it Ends is a perfect soundtrack to Life. Lovedrug gives life to music and gives music to life.
On a personal note, I remember when these guys played in Orlando back in 2004 with only their mere "Rock N' Roll EP", and it has been really cool to see these guys grow in their musicianship. You won't be disappointed to hear the "dark and lovely"-ness, as one reviewer said, of this album.
From Best to Last:
1. Doomsday & The Echo / Casino Clouds (I can't make a decision here)
2 Salt of the Earth
5. Happy Apple Poison
6. Pushing the Shine
7. Ghost By Your Side
8. American Swimming Lesson
9. Everything Starts Where it Ends
10. Bleed Together
* "Dancing" not included."