October 15, 2009

Week 6 - Love at War - Love at War

This is part of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks project.

Love At War
Love At War
LAT Entertainment

A few years ago there was a band called Anagen that was getting some buzz in the Texas scene. I reviewed their debut album and then they disappeared. That is, until I walked into the Will Evans Project CD release show in June and saw the opening band, Love At War.

Love At War features former Anagen lead singer Lance Kotara and guitarist Tyler McCollum along with guitarist Zach Baker, bassist Joe Fladger, and drummer Mike Hall.

Although Kotara’s voice is unmistakable, I’ve got to admit Love at War brings a whole different sound to the table. Whereas Anagen took a page from the Velvet Revolver playbook, Love At War brings a pop groove.

The name comes from the idea that all relationships have their ins and outs – Love at War. And the half-hour long debut CD is made up of nine radio friendly songs that run on the relationship theme.

The album kicks off with the guitar-driven “Sideways,” a track about being in a love stalemate. Forging forward, tracks like “Treading Water,” “In This Skin,” and “Motionless” are ballads that seem perfect for the backing music on a show like “One Tee Hill” or “The Vampire Diaries.”

My favorite has to be “Hurricane,” that likens love to a storm. “Like a hurricane / crashing through my head / you spin me around / and you leave me for dead / And you don’t make a sound / still I’m pulled back in / and I trapped in the heart of the storm.”

The final track, “Right Here,” is how I’d imagine Blue October would sound if Justin Furstenfeld didn’t have the inner torment that drives their sound. Listen to it and tell me if you can’t hear “Hate Me” in an alternate universe.

The music is great, each track holds it’s own as a three-and-a-half minute nugget of gold. Love At War worked with writer/producer Dwight Baker, (Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, Collective Soul, Bob Schneider and Alpha Rev) on this album, which explains why they kind of sound like the Austin version of the Jonas Brothers. I mean that in a good way.

Like the photo negative of Blue October, Love at War focuses on love, relationships, coming of age, and losing yourself. Do yourself a favor to check this band out.

If you’d like to check them out live, they play the next two Thursday’s at Momo’s in Austin, then a Halloween show with Bob Schneider at Antone’s. If you can’t make those, check out http://www.myspace.com/loveatwarus to find out more.

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