09 Jun 2021 - Ben
Melodic Hardcore / Straight Edge | Release date: 01 Jun 2021
Nashville melodic hardcore outfit, Love Is Red, return to the fight with their first release in seventeen years. It’s good to have them back again, doing what they do best - kicking doors and settling scores.
Formed in Florence, Alabama, at the dawn of the millennium, Love Is Red went through personnel changes in the early days before relocating to Nashville, Tennessee – the spiritual home of US music. In 2004 they dropped their breakthrough album, The Hardest Fight, which saw the band tour shows and festivals, and then disband a year later. Aside from a reunion show in Nashville in 2010, the band has lain pretty much dormant. Until now.
So, what effect has the intervening (almost) two decades had on the band between The Hardest Fight and Darkness Is Waiting, their latest EP? Have they mellowed? Are they stomping on their distortion pedals with slippers and wearing comfortable slacks? Not a chance.
Straight out of the gates, the band unleash the fire and the fury of their early releases, but somehow sounding more focused. It’s very evident that the band have used their time away from Love Is Red well - playing in other bands, embarking on other projects – and the level of musicianship on display serves to help the band deliver their message more eloquently and allows the band to use a wider variety of voices.
For example, “Keep Moving” is a rallying cry for the disaffected to “Keep moving… keep struggling… keep fucking fighting. On and on…” set against a guitar riff so muscular it should be stood at the door of Hard Rock Cafe Nashville! Two songs later, “Shallow Graves” attacks us with drones, Mathrock, hardcore and questions about the nature of mortality. “A Different Path” pummels us with a rhythm that changes pace as it feels like it; one moment an easy saunter, another a full-stop, ThenMarchingAtFullSpeed!
This is anti-dull. The changes in pace, in genre, in tone, in topic… they keep you interested and keep you listening. Stick any Fugazi or Big Black album on and you’ll find that the changes in tone, style and subject are what make them compelling.
“This is all well and good,” I hear you say, “but what made the band get back together here? Now?”
That’s a great question. A decade after their last reunion gig, they were booked at Furnace Fest 2020. That was postponed to 2021 (obviously), so it seems the band figured they might as well make some damn music. And, boy, are we glad they did?
What’s great about this EP is not just that Love Is Red are back – although that’s A Very Good Thing. Each member of the band has taken the experiences gained from their hiatus and used them to add a variety of ideas to the song writing, structure, tone and production of this record. They have taken what we loved about the band and their music – the passion, the fury, the message and the integrity – and they’ve found new language and vocabulary to express it.