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"Work, Rest & Play" - The Lovers

(Poof Records, 1997 )

And usually when a band breaks up, the members go their separate ways and the singer either releases a solo album or forms a new band and you don't think much of it. It generally sounds the same as the last band. I mean the singer, moreso than any other member of a band, is going to be classified because he's the VOICE. And the voice is what you're most likely to recognize when you hear a new song by a familiar band played on the radio. So I picked up a copy of The Lovers' first single, listening for ex-Inspiral Carpets frontman Tom Hingley, and well, expecting the Inspirals. Boy was I wrong. The A-side, "Work, Rest & Play" is an electronica track (to use the abhorrent buzzword), featuring whispered background vocals blending into a background of synthesizers and beats. Enter vocals - "Work rest & play, you are mine....(you're shy but you wanna be part of my heart)." The focus is instrumental and the song has an eerie dark undertone, emphasized with keyboards and that whispering. The next three tracks are about as related to the first as I am to a blind warf rat. Not that they don't fit well together, they're just diverse. Track 2, "Clear," is top-notch guitar-driven pop. Alternating back and forth from acoustic guitar and vocals, to full-on rock. Track 3, "Broken Wings," is not, thank goodness, a cover of that wretched old Mr. Mister song (I was worried when I saw the title, you never know these days). Instead it's a dirge-like anthem which comes as close to being a love song as Hingley can bring himself to write. In other words, it's bleak -- "You're taking my life, it's by degrees, I'm down on my knees, I don't want to live...." The final track, "Inertia," is a true gem. It tells of a failed love affair with Hingley lamenting "You're making it look so hard when it ought to be so simple. (All I really want from you is your mind, your soul and your body too.)" The song features guest vocals from one Denise Johnson and is at once both dancey and soulful,and has one of those catchy choruses that crawls inside your head and won't leave for days.

If this first offering from The Lovers is any indication, there should be massive things to come. They have managed to combine both musical diversity and emotional intensity into a 4-song EP which will leave you begging for more.

Check out The Lovers Official Homepage for release dates, tour information and soundbites.

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