The Loved Ones - Build & Burn (Cover Artwork)

The Loved Ones

The Loved Ones: Build & BurnBuild & Burn (2008)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Three chords, yeah they're yours / We stole them from your bottom drawer
?? The Nation of Ulysses, "Last Train to Cool"

The boon and bane of punk rock has always been its egalitarian work ethic. Anyone can do this style, as long as they're honest, and even that's more of a guideline than a rule. What this often means for the genre is a whole lot of repetitive bashing from most bands. But every so often an album comes out that slightly tweaks the formula. From these minimal changes comes a deliciously radical transformation. Philadelphia punk rock band the Loved Ones has done just that with their aptly titled second full-length, Build & Burn.

Overall, Build & Burn is very much in step with the band's first album, Keep Your Heart. It's bookended by the same stomping rhythms, steady power and straightforward lyrics. Sure, some cuts, like "3rd Shift" and "Louisiana" have more of a bluegrass/country/classic rock rhythm. There's also more harmonizing in the hooks, beautifully demonstrated on the perfectly constructed opening track, "Pretty Good Year," and the addition of second guitarist Dave Walsh allows the band to write more intricate arrangements. But for the most part, it's still Fat Wreck punk at its best. Uncomplicated and ready to rock, Build & Burn is hopefully a signifier of the great punk to come in 2008.

Where the band truly tweaks its sound is in the middle of the record, though, the biggest sonic shift coming on track five, "Brittle Heart." More acoustically driven, the song goes from catchy call-and-response verses to long "ohhhh"s in the chorus. It's like a two-minute, 39 second-long hook in the vein of Ted Leo or Billy Bragg, while maintaining the same Loved Ones vibe fans might expect. Dig that gnarly guitar during the chorus, too.

The other big surprise is the piano-driven centerpiece "Selfish Masquerade." Mid-tempo, dramatic and chock full o' crunchy guitar like "Selfish," the similarly centrally placed track from Keep Your Heart, "Selfish Masquerade" runs a little long. But it's still a solid tune.

Once the album hits track eight, "Louisiana," Build & Burn starts to rein in its experimentation. With a dash of organ and an explosion of guitar, "Louisiana" strikes a balance between the punk rock Loved Ones have done before and the bluesy classic rock they have clearly been influenced by. When my 52-year-old Bruce Springsteen- and Billy Joel-loving father said he dug this disc righteously (I'm paraphrasing), I knew the band had honored its older sources.

Fans not quite ready to embrace this change in direction (ya wusses) can find solace throughout the album as well. Build & Burn's first four and last two tracks are closer to the band's older material. Call it the "build" portion to the middle's "burn." "Pretty Good Year" keeps the "I and you" lyrical dynamic and chugging guitars of Hause's songwriting. "The Inquirer" is a good example of how the band writes -- with plane crash imagery and indictments towards authority figures; it easily reads as a reaction piece against the Bush administration over everything that's happened since 9/11, and while it offers no solutions, it's still a call-to-arms, a piece for generating discussion and energy.

Build & Burn can be accepted three different ways. Some fans of the band's older material will enjoy the disc's first half and bemoan most of the second, while fans of Springsteen and the like might grove on tracks five through eight. Finally, there's that third group -- people like me -- who will love this disc from beginning to end. At an ideal half-hour's length, Build & Burn runs its course quickly and smoothly, begging for a repeat play before it's even over. That the disc features production and backup performances from members of the Bouncing Souls and World/Inferno Friendship Society is merely a wonderful bonus.


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Loved Ones - Keep Your HeartThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Gaslight Anthem - Señor and the QueenDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldDead to Me - Cuban Ballerina

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
nacho8675309 (March 10, 2009)

This is not really theat punky, I like it a lot but its more of a rock record. I wish spider was still in this band, no offense to the other guy but spider is better then you.

cannsaw (October 9, 2008)

hey we're the loved ones and we used to be good.

fuck0 (July 18, 2008)

Keep Your Heart was better. Still, good cd, I'm glad they mixed up their sound a bit.

olddogsneverdie (July 7, 2008)

i thought their first demo release and the EP were the sweetest thing since chocolate milk. Like honestly I went bonkers when i first listened to them.
Then i picked up keep your heart. It was ok. I was just really disappointed I wasn't as blown away by it as I was by the EP. But it was still a solid record and I put it in every once in awhile.
With Build & Burn, all my hope is lost for the loved ones. I really don't even like it enough to listen to it all the way through. The slowness of it all just turns me off. I guess i'm more of a fan of short, fast anthems. It just seems like it takes forever for the songs to build up to anything.
That being said. I see the loved ones signing to a major label within 2 or 3 years and becoming a huge hit. Good for them. i'll be listening to something else

Amsteel (April 24, 2008)

(See below)

Previewing got rid of my score, so here it is.

Amsteel (April 24, 2008)

These guys are the best thing since Hot Water Music.
I have scoured for years for bands with a similar sound to HWM and have found hundreds of bands, The Loved Ones being the best of them.
While Keep Your Heart was good, this album surpasses it in every way.
There is so much variety to the songs after the first three, you never get sick of the album.

If you guys are interested in finding a band that sounds like The Loved Ones, I just discovered a new band called 'The Artist Life' who released their EP for free on their website.
It's very reminiscent of these guys, and comes close to their awesomeness.

MN_punkmaster-skaman (March 21, 2008)

Really good album by these guys. Love how their sound is steering away from the S/T EP They're finally coming into their own.

DoktorAwesome (March 6, 2008)

this album really needs time! but after severeal hearings it becomes clear! It rocks for sure! damn good!

bottlerocket (March 2, 2008)

This fucking record is SO good. Not one bad song, incredible lyrics, awesome tunes. Best of 08.

danpib08 (February 20, 2008)

I loved "Keep Your Heart" this album sucks!

skankbook (February 19, 2008)

I've been a fan since their first EP, and they've only grown. This album is incredible, from the opening notes/singing of "Pretty Good Year" to the end of "I Swear." Side note: when I saw them on New Year's Eve, Dave called "I Swear" the 'punk prom song,' and it lives up to its title. Pick it up.

HooverStreet (February 18, 2008)

I gave the wrong rating below. I meant to give this a 4.5 overall.

HooverStreet (February 18, 2008)

This album is fantastic! The first full length was below my expectations. The EP was so good that I expected a full length on the level of "Dookie" or something where every song belonged on the radio. That didn't happen on the first full length but this one is showing that the band still has that potential. In my opinion at least. Great stuff. Highly recommended.

victim (February 12, 2008)

Saw them last night. Really allayed any concerns I had about not getting into this record. They played a lot of Build and Burn in their set and all the songs fit in well. Even Louisiana has grown on me despite being so different from what I loved about KYH.

Agree with whoever said its not as catchy right off, but it has more depth.

And the drummer looks exactly like a young Stephen King which is awesome

AnotherBoringStory (February 11, 2008)

Louisiana threw me off at first, but now it's probably my favorite Loved Ones song. Great record.

timorous_me (February 8, 2008)

I actually really like how many times they mention "build" "Burn" "Build and Burn" and "Keep Your Heart" on the record

timorous_me (February 8, 2008)

I actually really like how many times they mention "build" "Burn" "Build and Burn" and "Keep Your Heart" heart

paulrulzdood (February 8, 2008)

"keep your heart" was my favorite record of 2006. needless to say, I am extremely excited for this. Sounds like the growth wasn't too radical, which is what I like. push your sound to new limits and experiments, yet maintain the core sound of your previous record. Love me some fat punk 2.0 (1.0 would be the skate-punk forbidden beat era, 2.0 I think of as the larry arms, d4, rise against, against me! era). fuckin A.

hurry up and deliver this bitch interpunk!


timorous_me (February 8, 2008)

I think this record is really good. As much as I like KYH I'm glad they changed up their sound a little on this one. I could see them getting really big with this one.

flowerfeeder (February 8, 2008)

Great record.

I'm from New Orleans so it was great to hear a song about our post-Katrina plight from an out-of-town band, but I can't help but think when I hear it that it sounds like some crappy local swamp rock band doing a made for WWL commercial. lol Locals will know what I'm talking about.

Good song though.

onegirlarmy (February 7, 2008)

Louisiana sounds like any number of gospel and old-timey songs. It's on purpose, to give the topic a more spiritual, reverential tone.

Interesting interpretation...

telegraphrocks (February 7, 2008)

"Louisiana sounds EXACTLY like She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain but with a slower melody."

HAHAHA! You son of a bitch! You just killed that song for me.

Scruffy (February 7, 2008)

Louisiana sounds like any number of gospel and old-timey songs. It's on purpose, to give the topic a more spiritual, reverential tone.

jumptheshark (February 7, 2008)

This album is growing on me everytime I listen to it. It threw me off at first (tracks like "Brittle Heart" and "Selfish Masquerade"), but now I really like. The slight shift in style is especially jarring because the first song or two sound like they easily could've fit on KYH. Not sure if I like this better than KYH or not, but it's a damn good album.

onegirlarmy (February 7, 2008)

I desperately wanted to like this but I find myself shutting it off after the first 5 songs.

Louisiana sounds EXACTLY like She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain but with a slower melody.

skaboom (February 7, 2008)

I think when you come into this album expecting it to be another pop-punk record like KYH, on first listen it's sort of lacking. The hooks aren't quite as big or as catchy, but in their place is a lot more depth, and a variety of styles that (frankly) I didn't think Loved Ones were capable of. It definitely takes repeated listens to fully enjoy it. It's hard to say if it's better or worse than KYH since they're so different, but this record is very, very good.

And hey, they finally released a cd without "100k" on it, that's worth something, right?

Torgo (February 7, 2008)

Pretty Good Year, The Bridge and Louisiana are still going to be some of the best songs released in 2008 by Winter.

damo (February 6, 2008)

"aptly titled second full-length, Build & Burn. "

how aptly titled????????? you say the middle is "burn" but that surely has to be a load of rubbish????

anyway - good album

klonny (February 6, 2008)

I remember they had streamed a song on their myspace page awhile ago, their first leaked song...I recall it sounded very Against Me!-ish...Well, more like Cowboy-Clarity era AM!.

theviking (February 6, 2008)

This record is the bones.

cooltobeyou (February 6, 2008)

I didn't like this album at all after my first listen, but its really starting to grow on me now. "Brittle Heart" is one of the best songs I've heard so far this year. I'm still slightly disappointed that the album does not sound like what I was expecting, but it has the potential to be better than "Keep Your Heart."

This band has the potential to get pretty big with this release IMO. I always laugh every time I see the "Keep Your Heart" poster on episodes of One Tree Hill

danielsan (February 6, 2008)

I like this better than Keep Your Heart. After putting some thought into it though, I may have come up with a reason for that. I loved the EP and didn't think KYH fully lived up to the promise. I thought it got a little repetitive and boring. With this though, I had lower expectations because I was slightly disappointed with their previous full length.

This one does have more variety and some modest experimentation, which really works for them. The most obvious example is Louisiana, which so far is my favourite song off the album.

Good job, The Loved Ones, and can't wait to see you in Toronto again. Man, I wish that Loveds/Gaslights/Ergs/Lagrecias tour was coming here.

misterspike (February 6, 2008)

Clearly a different band from the days of the EP and Keep Your Heart, but at the same time, it's definitely The Loved Ones. This record just blows me away. Each song stands on it own, making it nearly impossible to pick out That One Song (though, personally, "Sarah's Game", "The Inquirer", and "Brittle Heart" come damned close). The Loved Ones may not give you exactly what you were Expecting with Build & Burn, but they certainly give you what you Needed. Great job.

ARchangel (February 6, 2008)

Good review.

Hey_Asshole (February 6, 2008)

who cares?
this band is pretty bad

canucker (February 6, 2008)

So much better than Keep Your Heart. Louisiana is a complete rip off of Cottenfields but I love it.

Scruffy (February 6, 2008)

"keep your heart", "build and burn", "the bridge", the music to Suture Self and Massive popping up in other songs, and I think I've noticed more as well. There's so much of it and it's so obvious that I think it has to be a theme, not laziness.

foolsgold (February 6, 2008)

Better than KYH. I felt that KYH fell rather flat compared to the promise they showed in the EP. This release shows a greater variety of influences and is much more expressive, in my opinion. It's a better listen from beginning to end than KYH. Also, "Third Shift" is a great song.

That being said, the production sucks. Where the hell is the bass / low-end? I like the instrumentation--I'm glad they didn't overdo the organ parts and left them in the background--but the balance has no body and no punch to it. It just sounds flat. I can't hold that against the songwriting, though.

I'm still not sure what to make of the lyrical themes they have going on. There are a couple of phrases that pop up in multiple songs--"keep your heart" being one of them (on both full-lengths, mind you). It's an interesting thematic element but I can't help but feel it's a sign Dave's running out of things to say or needs a thesaurus.

telegraphrocks (February 6, 2008)

I would've LOVED to hear what Kid Dynamite would've sounded like with Tom Barnett singing.
Just imagine....

Scruffy (February 6, 2008)

You are correct, sir!

ramblinboysof (February 6, 2008)


Dave Hause was not in kid dynamite, he was a roadie for kd but nothing more than that.

Scruffy (February 6, 2008)

Woohoo: Dave Hause was also in Kid Dynamite. And I think its a fallacy to say Spider was the weakest member of TLO. His bass lines are the thing I miss the most from KYH.

Oldpunker: You have a right to your opinion, but please keep in mind not all of us like this band because of KD. In fact, KD grew on me more because of THIS band. I think KD is kind of boring, and wouldn't be worth half of what they are without Shevchuck's vocals. The Loved Ones, however, are one of my favorite bands.

fallingupwards84 (February 6, 2008)

Keep Your Heart was a decent listen... a few songs were gold, but more than a few songs were mediocre. If what everyone is saying is true about this record not being as good as Keep Your Heart, I don't think I'll be picking this one up anytime soon.

woohoo (February 6, 2008)

dude, you are insane! KD connection? the weakest member who is not even in the band anymore was in kid dynamite. get lost! lifetime was dan's best band, who gives a shit about kid dynamite...this is a great record

spoon_of_grimbo (February 6, 2008)

there isn't a track called "selfish" on keep your heart, was the reviewer referring to "sickening"?

can't wait to hear this, if the three songs i've heard off it so far are any indication, it's going to be amazing!

Oldpunkerforever (February 6, 2008)

wow, keep your heart did have some good tunes, this sounds as tho it was phoned in, no imagination and zero on the creativity scale. one of those org-core bands people cream over and the only reason is the kd connection, big deal.-oldpunker-

ScreamForChange (February 6, 2008)

Yeah, its awsome.

ScreamForChange (February 6, 2008)

I dont know.. Let me listen to it one more time.

StuckInBielers (February 6, 2008)

I haven't heard the whole album but after getting excited about 'Pretty Good Year' i was disappointed by the two other songs on this album on the myspace. Is there really that much Americana influence on this album? Why don't they give us a taste of it on their myspace?

AlmostPunkEnough (February 6, 2008)

better than "Keep Your Heart"? no quite. better than the EP? no fucking chance. better than 95% of all other music that will come out this year? ab-so-fucking-lutley.

such a good cd. i've sat on the Cross Bronx Expressway in terrible mid-afternoon traffic pumping this album for the last 2 weeks now, and every day it just gets better. and even more impressively, it makes me not mind the traffic. hell, it almost makes it seem serene and peaceful, which is really saying something. all in all, yet another slab of pop-punk awesomeness from these guys. my only wish is there was something akin to "Player Hater Anthem" on this disc, though that song took me by far the longest to come around on when the last album came out.

also, my real copy of this will be coming tomorrow or Thursday. hows the booklet and overall artwork in the liner notes looking? i loved the way KYH was done.

TheOneTrueBill (February 6, 2008)

Unless every song is as good as 100K, I don't care.

gbrew (February 6, 2008)

like i said before, they're the goo goo dolls of the punk scene.

wallofyouth (February 6, 2008)

(where's the paint it black review)

Scruffy (February 6, 2008)

This album already blows away everything that came out last year.

It takes a little growing time, especially if you're a fan of the last one. But it is worth it. It might not be AS good as Keep Your Heart, but it's very different (and far more different than I thought this band could make happen). Freaking sweet record.

colin (February 6, 2008)


woohoo (February 6, 2008)

This record is amazing. Great lyrics, great songs, it'll probably end up on many end of the year lists. This is their second record?! Holy shit. What a killer band that people can believe in. They will be one of those bands people remember and have a long career. CHEERS TO BUILD & BURN!

telegraphrocks (February 6, 2008)

Oh, and I know a lot of people like the song, but "Brittle Heart" just seems like a poor cover of Counting Crows.

Still a pretty good record though.

telegraphrocks (February 6, 2008)

8 awesome songs, 2 clunkers.


nocigar (February 5, 2008)

For sure a solid album.

hubitcherkokov (February 5, 2008)

I liked the demo and EP, wasn't that impressed by "Keep Your Heart," and wasn't really taken by any of the streamed songs for this. I'll check it out, but I think this band would benefit from having another singer with a distinctly different voice, a la The Alkaline Trio or The Lawrence Arms.

GlassPipeMurder (February 5, 2008)

no mention of the hold steady! haven't heard this yet, still not sure whether i'd like it, even with the description.

booker_pee (February 5, 2008)

better than "keep your heart."

cuapunkradio (February 5, 2008)

review is a little too verbose. record is a little lacking. without THS members holding it down this would have been a huge let down

skankaholikk (February 5, 2008)

They're good but not that good. I'm more excited about Gaslight than the Loved Ones on this tour. For being a new fan of the band, and only hearing this and Keep Your Heart, I like Keep Your Heart better.

IanIsSuperRad (February 5, 2008)

Awesome album. Although why no mention of The Bridge, which is obviously the corner stone of the album.

billnye (February 5, 2008)

why quote such an awesome band in a review for such a mediocre one?

bytheslice (February 5, 2008)

Can't wait for this album. Solid solid band.

Godfather (February 5, 2008)

good stuff

bryne (February 5, 2008)

Totally awesome record. Good review as well.

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