Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sea Monkey Punk: CD Review: The Loved Ones - Keep Your Heart

Hey man I know you got this thing out a comic book. I saw the add, two-ninety-five, it's right next to the sea monkeys - Dazed And Confused.

Categorize Keep Your Heart as a guilty pleasure. It's sea monkey rock - a derivative of a derivative of a derivative. Something that can be gotten out of the back of a comic book. The Loved Ones don't do anything that hasn't been done to death, but for necrophiliacs they can write some damn catchy songs. It's standard punk rock not afraid of a melody - what used to be a skinny Seventies corpse, but is now bloated and putting off a stank just waiting to be consumed by hip hop and manufactured corporate pop. The Loved Ones take the pop punk genre and with a few bolts of electricity and good songwriting make that monster rise from its shallow grave and do a few slamdances. Who cares if it's missing a head.

Fact is that they're slightly more original than fellow Philadelphia critical darling Marah who've spent a career aping Bruce Springsteen. I'd love to see a rock and roll cage match between the two groups with the winner to face off against The Roots. The Loved Ones have been together since 2003 which is long enough to perfect what they do. Anthemic guitar chords provide some bite to the bittersweet vocals while the bass divebombs under the lock step of the drums. Even if you've heard it all before like the old and jaded me you'll find yourself singing along by the time the 2nd chorus starts. It's a Pavlovian reaction first instilled by Chuck Berry songs and leather jacket toughboys trying to impress the good girls who don't.

So the final conclusion is that I like Keep Your Heart despite knowing better. Pop punk is like professional wrestling at this point: you suspend your disbelief or the fun is all gone. The Loved Ones keep the lyrical material personal and I like that too. There's too many protest singers and not enough martyrs in music. "Breathe In" should be a hit single. You can listen to "Jane" if you like. "Player Hater Anthem" is directed to those engaged in that pursuit and critics always love it when they're addressed in song. So go out and get Keep Your Heart when it comes out on February 21st. My guilty pleasure could be just an outright pleasure for you. Besides that quote I used at the beginning is by that Clint asshole from Dazed And Confused. What would that burner know about good music. Keep Your Heart is available from Fat Wreck Chords.

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