Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Review: Love and a .45 - Too Blonde For You

Label: Cheapshock Records

Released: November 5, 2007

Here's a short list of some of the bands I can hear in Love and a .45's music: Bad Religion, Rancid, Hole, Avail, Face to Face, a bit of the Replacements, even. The thing they all have in common is that they're American. What's odd is that Love and a .45 isn't. They're British. That's not a bad thing in its own, but it is indicative of the band's biggest problem: they can't really find their own voice.

That being said though, Love and a .45 does do some good things. First, they have a very good sense of hooks, making them a solid pop punk band. While most pop punk today seems to err on the side of emo, with whiney singers and cry-baby Sally songs, Love and a .45 stay clearly on the punk side of the line. They tend to be a bit too clean a bit too often, but even then, they certainly aren't sappy. When they're looser and grittier, they're able to dig into the song more and the result is some very good punk rock.

The sound definitely benefits from Kate Moritz's voice. She maintains a sense of melody, but keeps the rough edges that play into the album's high energy level. On occasion, she also shows that she can take the edge off, but never overuses the smoother side of her voice. At the opposite end of her spectrum, she proves to be a very good screamer, an art form all its own. She also uses this upper limit of her vocal power at only the right times.

Too Blond For You is not going to break any new punk rock ground, but it does avoid blurring the line between pop punk and emo. It would be nice if it had a better defined identity, but it thankfully hits all the hooks, showing that the price of pop isn't always the music's edge and energy.

Rating: 6/10


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