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I Hate Kate - Embrace the Curse Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.25
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 7
Production 8
Creativity 6.75
Lasting Value 7.25
Reviewer Tilt 7.75
Final Verdict: 74%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.88
Musicianship 8.88
Lyrics 8.5
Production 9.13
Creativity 8.13
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.75
Average: 87%

I Hate Kate - Embrace the Curse

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (07/17/08)
I Hate Kate - Embrace the Curse
Record Label: Glassnote Entertainment
Release Date: June 24, 2008


For roughly a year now, music insiders have been buzzing about the California trio I Hate Kate. After just a few listens to their new disc Embrace The Curse, it’s still baffling they’ve generated so much good buzz. While the group does has a knack for writing radio-ready choruses, securing crystalline production courtesy of Mark Trombino (blink-182, Jimmy Eat World) and boasting a heavy dose of commercial accessibility, it’s hard to take the band seriously with a song title like “I’m In Love with a Sociopath.”

The release feels very rooted in British punk and 21st century modern radio rock. That is to say the album feels like a strange mashup of The Kinks, The Killers and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. The group is led by vocalist/songwriter Justin Mauriello, the former frontman for Zebrahead, which released three albums on Columbia/Sony and sold several thousands of units worldwide, including gold status in Japan. Yet with such sterling credentials, one would expect a bit more maturity and professionalism with this debut release.

Yes, the musical proficiency is there, and certainly on songs like “Story I Can’t Write” the band comes across as likeable. For further evidence of this listen to lead single “Bed of Black Roses,” which has been serviced to almost 300 radio stations, appeared on the FBMQ sampler, and was number one on Salt Lake City radio station X96. But for every radio-ready single there are banal and unimaginative songs like “Then You Kiss” and “Inside Inside.”

The band’s Purevolume page credits the band for possessing lyrics that “make you want to think,” “prompting further exploration” and for creating songs that “register on an emotional level.” Yet none of those ideas is really brought to the forefront on Embrace the Curse. Instead, it comes across as dance-heavy, party-inspired riffage with solid bass lines and inspired drumming. Songs like the arena-ready “It’s You,” are big and reaching and possess a charm that merits repeat listens, but over the course of twelve songs, the party-hardy, shake-your-ass vibe all becomes a little forced, a little worn-down and to be frank, quite tired.

While I Hate Kate has successfully managed to translate the energy and enthusiasm of their live shows to Embrace The Curse, in the end, there’s nothing wholly original, inspiring or mind-shaking about this album. And yet despite all that, it’s probably going to carry this band to the promised land.

Recommended if You LikeZebrahead, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Mark Trombino's production work

myspace.com/ihatekate
 
Displaying posts 1 - 6 of 6.
07:34 PM on 07/20/08
#2
BlackpoolLights
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RJA? Seriously? Decent review...but in my opinion, you got it all wrong. "Then You Kiss" is easily one of the best songs on the CD, and "It's You" is the first. I also think you got your single-release info wrong, but what can ya do...

And sorry, but they sound not one thing like RJA.
09:09 AM on 07/22/08
#3
Gregory Robson
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RJA may be a stretch. But it was the first band that came to my head. It's definitely a bit poppier than the dense style of RJA, but so it goes. The comparison is not THAT far off. It's still in roughly the same wheelhouse. "It's You" is a good song, I even wrote that towards the end. As for "Then You Kiss," I think the lyrics and vocals make it weak for me. And the single-release info is straight from the band's press contacts. Thanks for responding though and reading. I appreciate it.

RJA? Seriously? Decent review...but in my opinion, you got it all wrong. "Then You Kiss" is easily one of the best songs on the CD, and "It's You" is the first. I also think you got your single-release info wrong, but what can ya do...

And sorry, but they sound not one thing like RJA.
09:46 AM on 07/24/08
#4
BlackpoolLights
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No problem. We rated the album within 1% of each other, lol. I know RJA may be considered the same or a near genre, but being extremely proficient within that genre, I consider the two to be absolutely nothing alike. Certainly all rock music bears similarities, that cannot be argued, but they're on opposite ends of the pop/punk spectrum. Sorry if I sounded overly antagonistic in that last post - I was having a bad day.

I am still of the conviction that "Bed of Black Roses" was a single from the original release of the CD in 2007, along with "Always Something", and that the latter, once re-recorded for the new release, is the one picking up radio play currently. Which is now called "It's Always Better", of course.
10:22 AM on 07/24/08
#5
Gregory Robson
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No problem. We rated the album within 1% of each other, lol. I know RJA may be considered the same or a near genre, but being extremely proficient within that genre, I consider the two to be absolutely nothing alike. Certainly all rock music bears similarities, that cannot be argued, but they're on opposite ends of the pop/punk spectrum. Sorry if I sounded overly antagonistic in that last post - I was having a bad day.

I am still of the conviction that "Bed of Black Roses" was a single from the original release of the CD in 2007, along with "Always Something", and that the latter, once re-recorded for the new release, is the one picking up radio play currently. Which is now called "It's Always Better", of course.

That sounds about right, actually. No worries on the antagonism. So it goes with critiques. Btw, I love your avatar. The Juliana Theory were amazing. Thanks again for reading.
08:11 PM on 07/29/08
#6
BlackpoolLights
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That sounds about right, actually. No worries on the antagonism. So it goes with critiques. Btw, I love your avatar. The Juliana Theory were amazing. Thanks again for reading.

And I love yours. Reading The Audacity Of Hope currently.

I went to one of the last TJT shows...went backstage with my girlfriend and met Brett, talked to him for a little while. Great, great band.

Obama '08!
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