The Loved Ones - Keep Your Heart (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Loved Ones

Keep Your Heart (2006)

Fat Wreck Chords

Philadelphians the Loved Ones were blessed for writing and recording the "100K" song last year for their first EP release on Jade Tree. That song really was, and still is, a marvel, and without any doubt helped them getting signed to Fat Wreck Chords. No wonder the song was re-recorded for this album, although I must say it lost some of its roughness in the Brian McTernan treatment it received here. Of course, the fact that this band includes members that formerly had been playing with Kid Dynamite, the Curse and Paint It Black didn't do them any bad for that matter, either. You can say they grew up in the right neighbourhood.

The first full-length for these 3 guys is already in as a possible contender for my end of the year's list of 2006, that's for sure. People awaiting another Paint It Black or Kid Dynamite hardcore punk album with a political message will be left unserved though, as this is no other than what I would describe as a darkish rock'n'roll sound that had a double-speeded metronome treatment while writing these songs. It's got all the hooks and punches you'd expect from a Fat Wreck band alright, but stripped down to its bear essence, this is nothing more than classis rock'n'roll song compositions. Actually, it reminded me a bit of Cadillac Blindside's or maybe even Ann Beretta's sound. Dave Hause's gruffy vocal duties, although sometimes sounding a bit as if he's not that talented of a natural singer, really are a relief for me again. I know I've been saying this a lot, but aren't we all a bit tired of the nice sounding, poppy-sweet vocals? I have to admit though that I'm not that enthusiastic about the lyrics here. Why do all these musicians seem to have such difficulties in life? Seems like all their relationships are going wrong, have to cry out for their parents for help, fear aging, and live with the weight of the world on their own shoulders. Come on, there's much worse things going on in this world than feeling bad about yourself. But OK, musicians write heartfelt music, and if that's what's in the guy's heart, so be it.

This album has songs in different speeds, going from rather slow-paced buildup ("Sickening") to pretty fast ("Over 50 Club") songs, but the main portion is quite rocking, mid-tempo catchy guitarded work with a pounding drum section that is really dominantly present. Besides the already mentioned "100K," I most enjoyed the songs "Please Be Here," "Arsenic," and especially "Jane." That last song has its so-often tested and approved grabbing vocal intro, an unbelievably melodic catchy chorus and breakdown guitars that get me wet in my pants. Also worth mentioning is closing song "Player Hater Anthem," one about passion for music with a little satire for the bands looking for money in music.

I'm not sure if this music is "2006 enough" for the younger kids, who according to me seem to prefer either the harder (emo) hardcore or the more mellow, cleaner work, but for me this album is sounding pretty genuine and mature, although this band has only been around for a few years. More importantly, it rocks and has the ability to stick long after, and it's flawlessly produced. That's how I like my music these days.