Year 5, Day 11: Building a Loud and Local sound with The Loved Ones

Year 5, Day 11: The Loved Ones – Build & Burn

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Track List

  1. Pretty Good Year
  2. The Inquirer
  3. The Bridge
  4. Sarah’s Game
  5. Brittle Heart
  6. Selfish Masquerade
  7. 3rd Shift
  8. Louisiana
  9. Dear Laura
  10. I Swear

About the Album

Build & Burn is the second full length album from Philadelphia punk band, The Loved Ones. Recorded in 2007, the album was released February 5th 2008 through Fat Wreck Chords. The album was produced by Pete Steinkopf and Bryan Keinlen of The Bouncing Souls and features Franz Nicolay and Tad Kuber of The Hold Steady.

Thoughts on the Album

Today on the Broad Street Playlist, I’ve decided to take it local. Yup that’s right, we’re going back to Philadelphia, PA. When I was growing up, there was a radio show on 94.1 WYSP every Sunday night hosted by a former teacher (and Philadelphia area rocker himself) of mine. The show was called “Loud and Local” and the host would play nothing by local (to Philadelphia) artists and bands… even allowing local bands to submit a tape or CD to be featured during the show.

So, we have the sophomore album from The Loved Ones, a Philadelphia punk band. One of punk rock’s main pitfalls is that just about anyone can do and pull off the style and music. And more often than not, you get a dishonest, unoriginal, and repetitious style of bashing. However, Build & Burn, bucks that trend with a sincere effort that only makes minor changes to the simplistic and egalitarian work ethic of punk. There is a sense of honestly and desperation throughout the album that detracts (in a good way) from the repetitive nature of the songs.

And here’s the thing: anyone could play the simple and uncomplicated chord progressions of the songs on this album… but I doubt they’d have the same amount of heart that The Loved Ones put into them. Here’s the thing though, as much as it’s simple and uncomplicated, that doesn’t mean that it’s sophisticated. It’s sophisticated, sing-a-long pop-punk that has elements of both Hall and Oates and REM.

Pretty Good Year, which was a b-side from their debut album, opens up Build & Burn. It’s a track that’s in the vein of Social Distortion. While it treads ground from the previous album, it adds more of a pop element to music, making it more rock than punk (hence the Social Distortion reference). The following track, The Inquirer, brings the So-Cal punk sound that emerged during the late 1990s. The Bridge, the third track, is much in the vein of the pop-punk bands of the 2000s. It’s got power chords that jump and dance while progressing into single note melodies… much like the work of bands like Good Charlotte and New Found Glory.

What separates this album from others of the same genre, is that it offers more experimentation and a willingness to try. Louisiana, the eighth track leans more towards a classic rock or American rock style. Here you can listen to the influences of this band with its powerful guitar and organ. Easily influenced by Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel. And as Dave Hause sings on this track, sometimes instead of a ton of work to get to point of comfort, it takes a little bit of faith…

And you can leave them there, you can walk away
You can point your guns and hope they’ll stay
But they’ll fold their hands and start to pray
A little faith can heal a heart that’s been betrayed

Conclusion

Not many could do what The Loved Ones did with Build & Burn, produce a sincere album that maintains it’s originality while building where their debut album left off. What you have with Build & Burn is a set of ten songs that are undeniably (and unforgivingly) catchy that won’t leave your head… even when you want them to. It’s an album whose message is that of the spirit of the underdog… the underlying spirit of the city of Philadelphia. It’s an album whose work ethic is almost in tune with that of Philadelphia’s. It’s a blue collar album of passionate pop-punk tunes.

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