|Pure Love - 'Anthems' (Vertigo Records)|
|Written by Ben Hughes|
|Tuesday, 19 February 2013 04:00|
I shall start here by saying I feel pretty much indifferent towards Gallows and The Hope Conspiracy to be honest, so I go into the world of Pure Love with no preconceptions or expectations based on either of these guys' previous hardcore bands.
Fans of Frank Carter and Jim Carroll may well be surprised by the new direction, and they may well alienate some, but those with open minds and open hearts can take much from this new alternative and melodic direction. At the end of the day it's a new band, the past is the past and Pure Love is a new chapter in the musical journey of these two songwriters.
Last year's single 'Handsome Devils Club' was my first introduction, a song that sparked my interest for sure, coming on like New Model Army jamming with The Smiths (funnily though, I can't stand The Smiths!), most recent single 'Beach Of Diamonds' and the accompanying epic promo video sealed the deal for me and I knew I had to have this album on its release.
Just a few days ago I witnessed Pure Love live, it is surely destined to be one of my gigs of the year, that night I picked up a signed copy of 'Anthems' for a bargain 8 quid. I now delve right into this album, the singles promise much, how will the rest hold up?
What surprises me after the first few listens is how anthemic and instant as a whole this album is, and I hear the ghosts of bands from my past pop up again and again in these songs. Not that any one song sounds particularly like these bands, but it's just the feel they give out. It may just be a certain bass-line or phrase, like the intro to album opener 'She' that takes me right back to The Cult circa '85, or the fact that 'The Hits' is the closest I have heard anyone come to the sweet, guitar-driven pop of Mega City 4, one of my fave alternative '90s bands.
It's great to hear Frank Carter can actually sing, the anger may be gone but the passion is as strong as ever. Carroll's ringing guitar sound has been expertly captured by Gil Norton's top notch production here, and this sound is a big, big part of this album; yes, the guitars sound big, and there are solos too! These little facts may be lost on many, but it's the little touches that draw me into this album, making it instantly warm and inviting.
'Bury My Bones' is the big, dumb rock song of the album, yet lyrically far from dumb it sums up where Carter's head is at these days when he sings "I'm so sick of singing about hate, it's never going to make a change," you know he means every word: there is a definite positive outlook to 'Anthems'.
The haunting and tender feel of the title track 'Anthem', with its loose sounding piano in the mix, gives it an alluring late night, smokey, juke joint feel, you can imagine them sat around the piano in some back street bar composing this one. But it's 'Beach Of Diamonds' that does it for me every time I hear it, what an anthem that is. My favourite song at the moment, it gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. I love everything about it, from the jangly intro riff, to the catchy melodies, lyrics and music that take me away to another place that I don't wanna return from, it's a sweet escape.
The catchy single 'Handsome Devils Club' brings on a feeling of camaraderie to me, and 'Burning Love' on the other hand is a lyrically descriptive, lustful sex song for sure. Carter opening his heart and soul and his pants to his woman. Then there is 'Riot', an anthemic call to arms that the youth of Britain can all relate to, simple. There are plenty of Post-Punk/New Wave influences going on, I hear hints of Big Country and The Smiths, but generally it's a big, passionate rocker of a record.
To me this album sounds classic already, melodies that instantly stick in your mind and pull you back for more, songs that excite and dig deep into your soul, and the aptly titled 'Anthems' has plenty of these magic moments I desire in an album.
Carter and Carroll have gone a long way to prove they are more than just the singer in Gallows and the guitarist from The Hope Conspiracy, and 'Anthems' proves they are a songwriting force to be reckoned with. As far as I am concerned an essential purchase for rockers, ravers and pure lovers everywhere.