Saturday, September 7, 2013

LOVEBLAST "Hard Liquor In Big Glasses"

(c) 2013 Loveblast

  1. Wild Forever
  2. In Your Arms Tonight
  3. Rain On Me
  4. Hard Liquor In Big Glasses
  5. When We Were Young
Brian Durbin--Vocals, Guitar
Brian Gilmanov--Guitars
Johnny Rox--Bass
Jeff Dewbray--Drums

Chicago has become something of a hotbed of hard rock, with The Last Vegas drawing so many people's attention to the Windy City, and other bands such as Hessler getting people to take a look as well.  Perhaps less well known than TLV, yet absolutely no less talented, is one of the newer offerings from the home of Da Bears...Loveblast!

While their latest release is a short, 5-song EP, that does not mean that the music here is short on talent or delivery.  Far from it.  Each one of these well-crafted songs combines punch-in-the-gut guitar work, a solid, thumping bottom end, and Durbin's nicely controlled, mid-range tenor vocals.  With sleazy, but not filthy, lyrics, catchy rhythms, and a touch of modern production, Hard Liquor In Big Glasses is perfect hard rocking fun that seems to find itself wedged into my CD player on a frequent basis!

If I was forced to pin down one song as my favorite, it would be a nearly impossible task, as two songs really snag my attention when I spin this disc.  The title track is catchy as heck, with a great sing-along chorus and some nifty trade-offs between the guitars and the bass in the rhythm of the song.  Durbin's vocals are in top-notch form here, and the more melodic approach of this track is one that allows the band to expand their sound a bit without changing who they are.  The same can be said on the heaviest track here, "Rain On Me", which pours on the sleaze with a bump-and-grind rhythm and all-over-the-place vocals that find Durbin growling, singing, snarling, and sneering alternately...and seemingly at the same time!  Once again, some excellent guitar work is featured here, along with the tightest drumming on the release.  Just a killer number that shows this band could easily tackle this style every bit as easily as they handled the more straight-ahead hard rock of the title track.

Picking these two as my favorites is not intended to take away from the other songs here, as there are no skippers at all.  The album opens in punchy, heavy fashion, showcasing a smooth vocal approach from Durbin and some awesome guitar work, not to mention the driving bass that blasts the track out of the bridge which finds Durbin utilizing more of a whispered vocal effect, which was interesting to hear.  "In Your Arms Tonight" is the closest the band comes to slowing things down, and it really isn't all that close, as this is definitely not some sappy ballad, with some driving bass lines, layered vocals on the choruses, and a catchy "whoa oh" complimented chorus.  Themore "hair metal" oriented "When We Were Young" takes the Loveblast sound and tosses in just a dash of pop songwriting sensibility, sweetening up the sleaze ever so slightly.  This is definitely the most pure 80's sounding of the five tracks here, but it doesn't come across as mimicry or mockery at all, as the band is obviously having fun as they bounce along on this song as they close out the too-short-EP.

Complaints are few and far between and are mostly focused on the packaging and album length.  The CD comes in a simple cardboard slipcase with no pictures, lyrics, etc., which is a bummer.  The album's biggest detractor for me is the shortness...clocking in at just over 20 minutes when I was fully settled in and ready for at least twice that!  Talk about your teases!  

Loveblast will be hitting the road this summer, playing various shows and festivals, including Skull Fest, which will find the band taking the stage in support of Jack Russell, Phil Lewis (LA Guns), Oni Logan (Lynch Mob) Killer Dwarfs, and others!  Check 'em out and be sure to snag this EP while you're there, as you will want to be playing it for the drive home!

Rating:  Short, but crankable!  Twist it up to 8.5!

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