It’s been just over a month since I reviewed Lovedrug’s first little taste of their new album, NOTIONS, and while I haven’t quite worn myself out on “Cult Kid!” or “Ray Gun,” I’m happy to have the album in my greedy little hands. As with all new albums from bands that I adore, I’m always a little nervous during the first listen. Will it live up to my expectations or will I be disappointed? The two singles had me confident that the Nashville quintet was not going to disappoint and I’m happy to report that the album is exactly what I hoped it could be.
“Anthology” starts NOTIONS up in a beautifully dark way, the brief hopeful sounding opening build up to foreboding pianos and synths as Michael Shepard’s airy vocals sing “Why do you hate / When you’ve really loved / Why do you stay / When I never showed up.” The layers build up and Shepard’s vocals become more emotional and urgent making the track a wait way to kick off the new set of songs. “Vampire Spy Film” is all rock with its fuzzy guitars and stadium filling sound. Again, the tone is dark, Sherpard’s vocals have a frantic whisper quality to them that makes the listener feel a bit uneasy. The more I listen to “Vampire Spy Film,” the more I fall in love with it.
NOTIONS is filled with big tracks shrouded in shadows and I can’t help but fall in love with it the more I listen. That’s not to say that the entire album is all doom and gloom, there are some wonderfully bright,80’s infused tracks. “Royalty” is a sing at the top of your lungs anthem filled with grand guitars and infectious synths and “Ready or Not” has a bit of a rockabilly / garage rock feel to the guitars and bass that float below claps that will have you joining in in no time.
There are so many great tracks packed into the last half of the album that it’s really hard for me to pick one favorite and I think it will take multiple listens before one track comes out on top of the rest. “One of the Family” features some glistening guitars and a driving beat that was made to fill your car with sound as you drive along, windows down. Listening to it now, I actually think it has a good chance of being my favorite song on the album, at least for a little while. I say this just as the album’s title track comes on and makes me second guess that last sentence. The guitars bounce along the verses and the 80’s infused synths and “sha la la’s” on the chorus are impossible to resist singing along to.
I fall more in love with NOTIONS each time I listen to it. There are some delightfully dark parts and some dazzling bright tracks that many other bands wouldn’t be able to pull off mixing on one album. NOTIONS is definitely a contender for one of my favorite albums of the year and I’m sure if I get to catch the band out on tour before 2015 comes to an end it will only cement NOTIONS place on top of that list.