Lovelectric - An Ovation for Innovation
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: Jan. 1, 2013
Oh to be young and from Jersey.
Lovelectric is a fresh-faced quartet that plays emotive pop-rock with a hand firmly ensconced in live theatre (think Rent, Spring Awakening, etc.) and another in hook-laden radio fodder. There's a slight veer towards pop-punk but really the songs have a gooey rock n' roll heart. Vocalist Doug Rockwell is far from perfect but does well to stay within his means. Well, sometimes.
"I Am" is rollicking, punchy and most definitely a hip-shaker, while the brooding "My Very Own Road" is bursting, heart-on-sleeve simplicity. At this points its obvious the band knows its way around a song. Well-executed and chock full of accessible attributes (big hooks, woah-oh singsongs, brevity) there's little to turn away from. The EP dips a bit on "Live Again" a self-indulgent effort that finds Rockwell straining and the guitars ratcheting it up a bit higher than necessary. Every band wants a chance to shred and that's fine, but given that "Live Again" should have been placed later on the disc.
The band is back in groove on the punchy "Battle Scars," a three minute slab of jittery hook-driven rock. Like its predecessors, the song itself is simple, to-the-point and not exactly novel. But then again Lovelectric appear more interested in keeping audiences shaking and grooving than thinking and studying. As if cognizant of this, Rockwell and Co. offer up "The Edge," an angst-ridden tour through paranoia, fatigue and frayed edges. There are times the song feels like a huge step forward and others an aimless mess.
For all their missteps the quartet returns on the zesty "New Time Comin'," a piano-laden affair that swerves with charisma and confidence. And it is in those brief three minutes that Lovelectric makes the most sense. Anchored by horns and a sun-drenched chorus, Rockwell and Co. seem to have hit a stride that points towards something promising. The problem with An Ovation for Innovation is when the band steers clear of tracks like "New Time Comin'" and "I Am."
For anyone who has doubts that An Ovation for Innovation is not a pop record, the quartet included not one but three bonus tracks, all of which are successful contemporary pop songs. The first is Cher Lloyd's "Express Yourself" and is arguably one of the strongest of the three. The second is Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven," which actually finds the band settling into a refined groove that actually works quite well. The latter, a mashup of Madonna's "Express Yourself" and Lady GaGa's "Born this Way," is far too ambitious and far too underwhelming to carry the band forward.
Being that they are a young band and this EP is their debut offering, there's reason enough to think that on the next effort they can turn it around. As it stands now, the music itself is not entirely thought-provoking, nuanced or artsy, but then again the audience they're chasing down has never wanted said attributes in their songs. Whether the band deserves kudos for knowing their audience remains to be seen. For now this is an EP with three terrific songs and three average songs. Changing that 3:3 ratio to 6:0 is what will drive Lovelectric to success in the months and years to come. They have the assets to do it, now it's just a matter of pulling it off.