Pretend You’re Alive

Militia Group

Pretend You’re Alive is a shockingly good record, period. The band wears their influences on their collective sleeves: Radiohead, Remy Zero, Coldplay and Sunny Day Real Estate. Yet, Lovedrug has managed to take the best aspects of these band to create something completely incredible and fascinating, to say the least.

I wasn’t expecting to be so blown away by this release, as Lovedrug is a band that has risen from the ashes of shoegazers Kerith Ravine. That’s not to suggest that Kerith Ravine was bad, because they weren’t, it’s just that they weren’t nearly as stunning as Lovedrug is.

This album has several moods, from the spacey to the rockin’, from the longing to the bitter, from the lost to the expectantly urgent. What remains consistent throughout the album is the heavy, burdened mood. Lead vocalist Michael Shepard croons in a manner similar to Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate, crossed with Thom Yorke. Yet, his voice is unique enough that it will distinguish this band from the majority of their peers.

My favorite songs on the album include the destined-for-radio-greatness “Rocknroll,” the moody and swaying “In Red,” the heavily plodding and shifty “Pandamoranda” and the grandiose “It Won’t Last.” Lovedrug’s song structure is anything but basic, as they evoke a feel similar to The Cure or Radiohead, whose songs are built in both mood and intensity.

Make no mistake, this is not a pop-punk album. These guys, regardless of the Sunny Day Real Estate comparisons, are not an “emo” band, either. Lovedrug is more of a thinking man/woman’s art band, whose indie rock contemporaries would include Celebrity and the much missed Elliot. Pretend You’re Alive is an incredibly strong release; there’s truly not one throwaway song.

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