America Underwater

Written by: TL on 05/10/2009 14:09:02

When last we heard from Hollywood's own LoveHateHero, they were dropping a bomb of an album on us with their sophomore LP "White Lies". After having only impressed with a few hits off their debut "Just Breathe" (most scenesters will remember "The Risk"), "White Lies" took most of us completely by surprise, hitting the state of the scene dead center in a barrage of sing/scream dynamics, blistering guitar solos and easily memorable songs. At the time, it seemed so right that I rewarded the effort with a towering 9, but since then, I must admit that the album has seldom returned to my rotation - It's not that it's not good, it's just not something I personally find myself putting on very often, just like other good albums like "Kezia" and "Wires And The Concept Of Breathing". They were all awesome, but they just seemed to get old really fast, no?

Whatever, that's not the topic of this article, rather that would be what's new on LHH's new "America Underwater" album, and of course whether or not it impresses as much as its predecessor - a question that is, as is often the case, not answered unequivocally. One thing I can say with quite a solid amount of certainty is that things are different than on "White Lies". You quickly get the feeling from the first couple of listens, that things have become poppier, more anthemic and more straight-forward. This initially feels like a downer, because you can easily imagine an effective big-rock producer going to work on the band's songs, shaving off the excess fat and reducing them to the most directly hitting melodies, and by doing so, things like the screaming and awesome soloing of the prior album, have been cut back quite severely.

However, it's not all bad, because even though the best of the new songs are more immediate hit and run attacks, it still shows that LHH have a talent for writing catchy, attitude-fueled stuff that compels you to both move and sing along, and will not be suppressed by any amount of production. This is signaled as early as on the first track, "Saints And Sinners (HisStory)", where a cool string backed pseudo-epic intro precedes a track with a chorus that sticks like glue. The following "America Underwater" is catchy too, but doesn't fare quite as well, possibly because it is the single and hence suffers more than the rest from the poppy approach. Good thing "You'll Never Know" re-raises the bar then, with some good old fashioned balladry, to the point lyrics and passionate vocal delivery. The next two tracks then inject some more energy and singalong-able choruses, with "Echoes" doing especially well in both departments.

The second half of the album is opened by another ballad, "Wait To See You", which despite its explosive ending, fails to leave much of an impression. "Pants Off Dance Off" isn't exactly my favourite track either, mostly because it's so soft and poppy it sounds like The Audition could've written it, and I'm annoyed to notice that Pierrick Berube actually sounds a lot like Danny Stevens. Not that Stevens is a poor singer, but still, his particular sound is not a particularly good thing to reference if you ask me. Thankfully, "Come And Get It" get me interested again, with probably the dirtiest sound (think new Escape The Fate) of any of the songs on offer and yes, you guessed it, another fuckin' catchy chorus. "Procession Of Regression" attempts to measure up, but fails in the chorus department, thus taking the album a notch back down, before "Too Little, Too Late" (ironically) swoops in and restores the quality, again courtesy of some of the heavier elements that have otherwise been sadly missed throughout the record.

So all in all "America Underwater" is quite the roller coaster ride of a record, which suffers in comparison to its parent album, simply because it has undeniably been dumbed down for the masses a bit. Still though, with half an album's worth of easily enjoyable and memorable tracks, and nothing in the other half weighing it down too much, there's no reason to give up LoveHateHero entirely. After all, if this album does give them a bigger break, there's every possibility that they'll have more to offer on the next album.


Download: Saints And Sinners (HisStory), You'll Never Know, Echoes,
For The Fans Of: Escape The Fate, The Sleeping, The Audition, (Page Avenue-era) Story Of The Year

Release Date 28.09.2009
Ferret Records

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