Classics of Love - Walking in Shadows (Cover Artwork)

Classics of Love

Classics of Love: Walking in ShadowsWalking in Shadows (2009)
Asian Man Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
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Classics of love make a dark day light If you don't believe the words then just look into their eyes" - Common Rider, 1999 Like a crystal-clear prophecy, self-fulfilled by a resolute thrust of momentum and passion, Jesse Michaels has returned to making music. After five years without a band, Cl.
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Classics of love make a dark day light
If you don't believe the words then just look into their eyes"
- Common Rider, 1999

Like a crystal-clear prophecy, self-fulfilled by a resolute thrust of momentum and passion, Jesse Michaels has returned to making music. After five years without a band, Classics of Love has found the former Operation Ivy, Common Rider and Big Rig frontman joining the entire cast of Hard Girls to rip forth a new set of urgently delivered punk, nascent and sprightly, but with 20 years of substantive seasoning underpinning its foundation.

As each project Michaels has unveiled throughout the years has sounded considerably different than what preceded it, it should come as no surprise that Classics of Love is no "part two" of any earlier bands. Sure, there are elements of past work in the sound of the present -- the burning exigency of "Don't Stand Down" smacks slightly of Big Rig while "Slow Car Crash" invokes memories of This is Unity Music outtakes -- but the sonic depth and brooding chord patterns are unlike anything from Michaels' archives.

The angular "Countdown" begins choppy and unsteady, lifting off the EP with a half-step progression before the anthemic chorus explodes like a rocket, soaring for a few bars before returning to the shifty verse and speculative presentiment. "No Return" is perhaps the disc's catchiest and most straightforward, seemingly in the same vein as Common Rider's "Rise or Fall," or to paraphrase Michaels, "I used to drink a lot and it was a lot of fun. And then it stopped being fun, and then I stopped drinking, though I'm not suggesting everyone should do that."

The title track bobs and pops, grazing past reggae, punk and hip-hop without ever firmly latching on to any such style on the EP's most rhythmic cut. In a Q & A with Michaels in 2007, he contested "Punk is, as far as I am concerned, the greatest form of rock & roll but it is not the ONLY form." This sentiment seems to radiate on "Time Flies," which bears more resemblance to the Who than the Clash, while still packing energy that matches the rest of the songs. The highlight "Don't Stand Down" finds more contemporary parallels in acts like the Observers and Red Dons while showcasing Morgan Herrell's ballsy bassline and the melodic poetry fans of Operation Ivy and Common Rider have come to expect: "In this book of years we read there are no torn-out pages / We watched waves of fear and dread proclaimed by our own state sages / Everyone becomes content with lesser joys / Maybe now it's time to disclaim the national noise."

Dressed in stunningly minimalist artwork done by Michaels himself, this six-song set can stand alone as yet another qualitatively great contribution to music from the Berkeley native. However, one can't help but hope this is only a taste of what's to come for Classics of Love, and that there is still plenty of more music from this group to follow.


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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.
GodKill123 (September 6, 2010)

Here the thing. Jesse Is back. And He's better then ever, Sure not as good Operation Ivy (like that never gonna happen) and at least up to par with Common riders and Big Rig, but Jesse is back. And better then ever.

Plus, Slow Car Crash is proably my new favorite song

655321 (June 24, 2009)

Looking forward to a full length

INDW (June 24, 2009)

very good review. Agree with most things (score, best track) but I don't really see it as being qualitatively different from common rider, i think they are pretty similar really. Still, absolutely cracking EP, deserves to be enjoyed on its own merits and not judged in reference to its consitutent parts.

ZappBrannigan (June 24, 2009)

Jesse Michaels is my musical hero. He's a nice and thoughtful guy with a lot of heart. Score is for chatting with fans after shows.

Torgo (June 23, 2009)

Two thumbs up

mattramone (June 23, 2009)

I honestly thought this was just kind of mediocre. I felt the same way about Common Rider.

MN_punkmaster-skaman (June 23, 2009)

Score is for the review. It's a good album, but pales in comparison for me to what he did in Common Rider.

whoostin (June 23, 2009)

Jesse Michaels and Denis Buckley= two dudes that should have given up on music after their awesome bands broke up

Blackjaw_x (June 23, 2009)

Has members of Hard Girls, who are pretty darn good. Hard Girls has members of Pteradon, who are funking incredibly awesome and (warning: cliche org statement) really nice dudes. Don't like this band though.

mikexdude (June 23, 2009)

Definitely agree with this score and the old band post-operation ivy I like.

lushj (June 23, 2009)

Short version: This ep is a return to Jesse's punk roots, with very little extraneous ingredients.

I think it's the best thing he's done since Op Ivy, hands down!

telegraphrocks (June 23, 2009)

My least favorite material from Jesse, but still a good listen.

Common Rider > Operation Ivy >>>> Big Rig = Classics Of Love

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