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Album Review: Lovedrug – EP Part 1

EP Part 1’ forms the first instalment of three self-released EPs by Ohio four-piece, Lovedrug. Having released three previous records on the popular Militia Group stable, this release represents a first for the band as an independent group. For those unfamiliar with Lovedrug, the band’s sound is firmly in the alternative rock camp. Previous outings have been equal part haunting and indie rock, with a reliance on keys and synth. ‘EP Part 1’ not only represents a new chapter in terms of labels, but also seemingly in sound. The band clearly has big aspirations as every song on here is draped with stadium-orientated tendencies; big riffs, empowered choruses, and massive soundscapes. Think Kings of Leon and your pretty much spot on.

Opening track ‘Pink Champagne’ is one of the better tracks on the EP. Its soaring chorus of ‘sureshot, you were always my sureshot’, is catchy as hell and has a hint of 'Foxtrot'-era Wilco. The guitar work on ‘Pink Champagne’ is brilliantly interlaced and superbly supported by the rhythmic drumming and downbeat bass to create that 70’s-rock-with-an-updated-vibe sound, so well used by Kings of Leon. There are more than a few similarities with the brothers Followill, yet Michael Sheppard’s whining vocals and the odd grunge breakdown prevent this from being a complete rip-off. The same can’t be said for lead song ‘We Were Owls’, though there is a little synth in the mix, everything is just too similar to the aforementioned band. The track builds from a slower, more stripped sound into a faster and louder repetition. At the track’s crescendo, there is some great guitar play, but on the whole the track is just too much of a homage to really be worthy of its own plaudits.

Thankfully, ‘Premunition’ kicks in to save Lovedrug from being a tribute band. The almost folky vibe of this track has hints of the sound popularised by Mumford & Sons, yet maintains its own unique twist. ‘Premunition’ is a big track, it is layered with massive drums, and jangly guitar bits. Sheppard strays dangerously close to David Gray territory vocally and there are still elements of the Kings of Leon, but ‘Premunition’ is the best track on this selection of songs by a long way. It’s back to the second-rate tribute act for ‘She’s Disaster’. It’s hard to hear anything at all on this track that hasn’t been side-swiped from Lovedrug’s favourite band. By the end of the 4 minutes, you start to feel as if you heard this song earlier on.

What is apparent about ‘EP Part 1’ is that it is quite a big departure from previous work, ditching the keys and synth for the majority and turning up the rock, which ends up being detrimental to the band’s sound. It’s not hard to see what Lovedrug intended, and you can imagine certain songs blasting across stadiums and arenas, yet there is something wrong. Whether it’s the fact that most of the songs are too long or that Michael Sheppard’s voice grates after a while or simply that the majority of this EP was on ‘Only By The Night’, there is something about ‘EP Part 1’ that leaves it being largely average.


'EP Part I' by Lovedrug is available now.

Lovedrug on MySpace.
Official Website
Dan Issitt

Alter The Press!