Lovesick Saints - Dia De Los Muertos [EP] (Cover Artwork)

Lovesick Saints

Dia De Los Muertos [EP] (2013)


Self-described as "a heart-felt punk rock tribute to all those who fought and sacrificed their lives for our freedom" by songwriter, guitarist and front-man Tom Holliday, "War Story" by Lovesick Saints provides a strong taste of what the band is about. Having laid their feet deep into the Southwestern soil of Maricopa County, Arizona, their home turf for the past half-decade, LSS provides a provocative take on the classic melodic punk of Bad Religion, Alkaline Trio, Face to Face, Social D and others with the release of their latest EP Dia De Los Muertos. Dropping into dark territory, tackling issues of poverty, war and depression. what is produced is a solid punk rock effort, but nothing Earth-shaking. Much like the dry, scorching state of Arizona, harsh, straightforward and unrelenting in its beliefs, LSS provides a full force blast of political punk rock that scars its beliefs into the listener.

Beginning with the instrumental opener "Dia De Los Meurtos," a driving, upbeat cutter of a song full of Brett Gurewitz worship, bell rides and dark melodies, LSS dims the lights and turns up the heat. The first track to stand out is the mid tempo heavy hitter "One Foot in The Grave" which brings to mind early Alkaline Trio or '90s-era Bad Religion. A song about troubles with money, what greed can lead to and the temporary happiness it brings. Holliday declares "I'm here to say, that we all got one foot in the grave, we all fade." Inspiring and poignant, it's a reality shock to those who believe cash rules everything around them. C.R.E.A.M., or in LSS's case not so much.

The next track, "War Story," is exactly as it sounds, an anthem to all those who have served. Full of bagpipe introductions and reverb-chocked vocals over a single guitar that flows out into the listener's ear, leading the war-torn story of a man fighting for his beliefs. At first listen I came to believe that this song was merely a story of American pride, a grunt fighting aimlessly for whatever is being shoved down his throat. But LSS has more sense than that. This story takes place over sixty years ago, at a time when the world was at war and freedom was something worth fighting for. This can be shown here: "Our grandfathers fought for what we have today/ They gave up so much and for that I say thanks /The mothers with no sons and those with no dads /I thank god for heroes, my heart's in your hands." With the utmost punk rock sensibility, Lovesick Saints pulls support for our veterans perfectly. This runs even deeper, as this song and the band have led to many charitable events for US veterans, whether their cause is one worthy of support or not. LSS closes off the album with the ballad "Empty," a tune that carefully works its way up to an emotionally ending. At times sounding like a more punk rock James Hetfield, Holliday showcases his talent in hitting the lower tones of his range. Slide guitar, acoustic single string picking, shakers, simple kick/snare work and even soft, wet keys fill the song with a large range of dynamics. A great ending that catches the listener off guard and tugs hard at their hearts.

Tackling complicated issues that many would rather stay far away from, Lovesick Saints brings back a strength into a punk rock style that while being oversaturated, is rarely well done. The songwriting is strong, the lyrics run deep and the instruments are played as well as any punker needs to play. A dark journey into the world of Arizona punk trio Lovesick Saints is one well worth taking. It's a journey that's part nostalgic and part inspiring. Looking to new heights through the eyes of the dead.