Friday, March 03, 2006

The Lovemakers - Times of Romance

The Lovemakers - Times of Romance
3.5 out of 5 stars

It was when Franz Ferdinand’s debut broke out only a few years ago that the feasible fusion of rock and dance first seemed possible. Sure, the 1980s provided acts that could coexist both on the stage and in the disco, (Depeche Mode, INXS and Duran Duran all come to mind) but in the 80s most dance-rock was driven by the synthesizer, and the guitar took an accompanying backseat. Today, the keyboard and the guitar have a more harmonious relationship, with each instrument coequally sharing melodious duties in such bands as The Bravery and Action Action.

The Lovemakers flirt with this guitar piloted dance-rock on Times of Romance, but still seem to subscribe to the New Order paradigm that dance-rock relies more on hooky synth than on killer guitar. This probably explains why Times of Romance seems less innovative, and more like a conservative investigation into the has-been sounds of music past.

Times of Romance is not a great album because it is entirely built around their breakthrough single, ‘Prepare for the Fight.’ That song is bright and earnest, and offers an energetic introduction to the rest of the album. But the rest of the album soon falls short, as the following tracks each serve as disingenuous attempts at cultivating bargain basement synth hooks. ‘Shake Your Ass’ is the outlier to this trend, however, with its sound and lyrical content doling out hip hop grooves and attitude. Of course, the most disappointing moment of this album is when the album ends with a club mix edit of ‘Prepare for the Fight.’ Talk about too much of a good thing.

Overall, Times of Romance is your average indietronic album. Were it not for the recent progress of bands like The Killers and Franz Ferdinand in extending the dance-rock sound to the popular airwaves, it is hard to say whether The Lovemakers would have been given as much time of day to begin with. Times of Romance is too safe and has already been tried.

The Lovemakers - 'Shake That Ass'

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