May 03, 2005

Lovethugs "Babylon Fading"

Another entry in the Swedish Invasion is The Lovethugs. By looking at the cover, you'll see the band sitting in a dark room (it might be an opium den, or a love grotto), wearing vintage clothing--and the requisite long hair, too--and one member is holding a sitar. The cover pretty much sums up Babylon Fading's style--slightly psychedelic Sixites garage rock, with an ever-so-slight pop sensibility. While their formula isn't that bad, it's not that distinctive, either--they sound like any number of garage bands, both American or European. (In fact, their style reminds of a less-polished Caesars.)

But like many garage bands, their charm makes up for their greater weaknesses. It's hard not to smile when you hear them imitate the bands that they love. Plus, it's not really hard to fall in love with a band that has a gratuitious use of a rockin' organ and lots and lots of Fender guitars and hand-clapping. It doesn't hurt that their style--already heavily indebted to mid-period Beatles--is accentuated by singers who sound just like John Lennon. (What is it about these non-English speakers who sound like a Beatle when they sing?) The best song on Babylon Fading is the rockin' "Up For Love," which sounds like it should have been on the Help! soundtrack.

Don't get me wrong, they've got some great ideas--intros to "Make It Slow," "Wonder" and "I've Heard A Rumor" break from the garage-rock style and seem to point the band into a direction that's more interesting, but unfortunately these songs don't deliver on these tantalizing intros, often immediately switching over to the garage-rock formula. Maybe that's a young-band thing, or maybe they simply haven't matured enough to deliver on such promises. Whatever the case, The Lovethugs have a bit of growing to do, and though Babylon Fading is charming in its innocence, but such charm fades fast. "Up For Love" is catchy, though!

--Joseph Kyle

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