All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Review: Louder Than Love - Dark Days

Louder Than Love - Dark Days
2009, Louder Than Love

No matter how far you travel or how much you learn, sometimes you have to go home to start over. Paul Lambert left Vancouver, British Columbia for Montreal to study music, and then continued on to New York City where he played with several bands. A visit from a childhood friend got him to thinking about playing with friends from back home, and Lambert began to write new material with those friends in mind. Returning home, Lambert (lead vox/lead guitar); Ras Contractor (guitar/vox); Dan Okano (keys/vox); Tyler Thompson (drums) and Tony Lambert (bass) began jamming together and coalescing into the group that would be known as Louder Than Love. When Louder Than Love finally got together and began to play the material Paul Lambert had been writing they knew they were on to something. The culmination of this long road home is Dark Days, Louder Than Love's debut album. Trolling the dark waters between Progressive Rock, Modern Rock and Metal, Louder Than Love play such a vibrant and intriguing mix of styles you might just keep Dark Days on continuous repeat.

Dark Days opens with the title track, a wonderfully melancholy tune built around a classical sounding piano lick done in variations. It's a song about loneliness in a difficult world and features a distinctive Prog Rock influence. Just Like You is a moderately aggressive hard rocker about dark secrets and the costs they extol. Bringing You In digs into a myth that originated with the ancient Greeks and been perpetuated by every seafaring culture since. The call of the Siren is explored here in musical prose set in a Baroque Metal setting. The odd dichotomy of urgent need and aesthetic beauty makes Bringing You In highly unusual, and the Pink Floyd influence really isn't a surprise in that context. Louder Than Love takes a whimsical turn on That Ghost, a cute and quirky song about a pretend ghost friend. Anyone who ever had an imaginary friend as a child will identify with this song on one level or another.

Louder Than Love works in the seemingly pre-requisite anti-war song with Never Going Back, looking at war from the perspective of a veteran who’s already been there. The song is decent but a little on the predictable side. The vocoder portion of the vocal line is more of a distraction than a strength. Chemical Love sounds like the cynical radio song of the album. By design or otherwise this is probably the most commercial marketable track to Modern Rock radio. Not surprisingly it’s perhaps the weakest track on the album. Louder Than Love goes for a retro sound with Jazz influence and an improvised feel on Searchlight Soul. The chorus here is brilliant.

On Bad Apple, Louder Than Love describe someone we all know, a friend who seems destined to self-destruct. The theme is a bit over-simplified in clear Pop terms, but the song might have a real chance at Commercial Radio. Flood Gates is something of a change of pace, and the accompaniment in the first verse sounds suspiciously like a minor-key Goodbye Stranger (Supertramp). The chorus is one of the strongest on the album, driven by guitar and bass with a strong vocal harmony bridge over the top. Michelle is an upbeat song about letting the decline and fall of a relationship roll off your back. It's a great tune, full of a big, layered guitar sound and strong vocals. Louder Than Love closes out with Rain, a tense yet melodically meandering ballad that seemed more like an afterthought than a cohesive part of the album.

Dark Days has its issues, as does any album, but there's a startling sense of originality that runs throughout the album. Louder Than Love is distinctive, creating music that seems likely to be lasting and significant. Paul Lambert is a consummate front man, offering compelling songwriting, searing guitar work and vocals that stand up to some of the best in the Hard/Progressive Rock genres. The rest of Louder Than Love more than effectively fill in the gaps and create a dynamic sound that is sure to garner significant attention. Dark Days is a late-comer, but deserves real consideration for end-of-year lists.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Louder Than Love at or Dark Days is a digital-only album available through or iTunes.


Ricardo Anderson said...

Yes man, I love Louder Than Love

Anonymous said...

The album is really good. The song Dark Days is on my daily listening rotation.