Love Hate Rebellion: Suspenderboys (2012)

Bio (from sonicbids.com/lovehaterebellion):
Love Hate Rebellion were formed in early 2011 by Jimmy Sky, (KUNST/Flowers For Lily) Rachel Pelser (The Boys/The Ovaries) Ariana Pelser (The Boys) and Andrew Ivanovic (The Andrew Ivanovic Experience).  Following a chance meeting in a Brisbane nightclub, the group discussed their capacity to project personal emotional journeys through sound to a mass audience, and after a period of intoxication, Love Hate Rebellion was born.  Drawing on a range of influences as diverse as The Doors, Nine Inch Nails, Neil Young, Placebo and Queens of the Stone Age, Love Hate Rebellion swiftly created a following through consistent and engaging performances.

Musicians:
Jimmy Sky (Vocals, Guitar), Ariana Pelser (Vocals, Bass), Rachel Pelser (Guitar, Keys), Andy Ivanovic (Drums)

Love Hate Rebellion is a group out of Australia that makes music that is very familiar to me.  They have only been together as a band for a little more than a year now, and in 2012 released their first EP, or “AAA Side” as they call it, SUSPENDERBOYS.

SUSPENDERBOYS’ self titled first track was interesting, and harkened back to some sounds I hadn’t heard in a while, but overall was a bit underwhelming for me.  “Suspenderboys” is built mostly around a highly repeated riff, and that sets the tone for the whole song.  The riff is over, and over, and over again – and don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad riff, but it is very highly overused in this track – and to go along with this repetitive guitar backbone, the lyrics are also quite repetitive.  There is a story going on here, but a few minutes after listening to it, all I can remember is “Say it’s ok to play with Polly,” ‘cause you literally hear that phrase dozens of times in less than five minutes.  Love Hate Rebellion reminds me a bit of Smashing Pumpkins on this track, but less “deep,” and Sky’s vocal delivery comes off somewhere between Billy Corgan and Brian Molko from Placebo, which I like overall though on some of the more enthusiastic parts it goes a bit too far.  Musically it is all about that riff, so much so that I can barely hear the bass at all in this song except for the random flourish that appears a couple of times.  The drums I really enjoyed, they are more than just the rhythm behind the track, but instead propel it forward and pick it up.  This is not a bad song per se, but if it were a movie I would say that it needs some heavy editing because it has a lot of fat to trim.

LHR: Jimmy Sky, Ariana Pelser, Rachel Pelser, Andrew Ivanovic
LHR: Jimmy Sky, Ariana Pelser, Rachel Pelser, Andrew Ivanovic

The second track on SUSPENDERBOYS, “Sweet Orchid,” is a bit less repetitive and there is more of a divergence between the different instruments so you can actually hear what both guitars and the bass are doing independent of each other.  The drums again are the piece that caught my attention the most, as Ivanovic’s work has a tendency to push itself out of the background and into your face.  Musically this track again felt somewhere in the Smashing Pumpkins territory – back in the Siamese Dream / Mellon Collie era, you know, when they were pretty damned good – mixed with something a bit heavier and more dissonant.  The repeated “yeah” actually calls to mind White Zombie, though musically only the drums could even really be in that same vein.  Sky’s vocal’s on this one work well with the fact that this is a heavier track than its predecessor, and his tone is a bit deeper and thicker, rather than the more androgynous Placebo-esque bits “Suspenderboys” entails.

LHR on stage for your viewing pleasure
LHR on stage for your viewing pleasure

The final track on this short EP, “Better,” was by far the winner.  While this is a lot less “rocking” than either of the other two tracks, it really seems to have a lot more of its own identity rather than sounding like other bands (which is not necessarily bad).  The song opens with a pretty little guitar riff that is competing with some guitar flourishes and harmonics from the other guitar.  The bass also is easy to distinguish in this track, and the drums, which are more reserved and actually less in-your-face, feel about perfect for the tone of the song.  The vocals are the best delivery of the three tracks on SUSPENDERBOYS, and the lyrics themselves are haunting.  “Going pro / Anorexia / Going to be better / Higher than everyone / I will be thinner / Much more beautiful.”  On both the music and the lyrics, this track is the shining star for SUSPENDERBOYS.

Under a Blood Red Sky, um, Backdrop.
Under a Blood Red Sky, um, Backdrop.

Overall I enjoyed this EP, and I did like that fact that it got better as it went on.  It is a bit repetitive, it is a bit “familiar,” but it is not a rip off of another band and it is not wholly unoriginal, especially on “Beautiful.”  Love Hate Rebellion is working on a full-length album, and the progression in just these three tracks alone makes me optimistic to see what that longer release will bring.  SUSPENDERBOYS is a good start from a young band, and I look forward to seeing what more time playing together will bring.

 

Overall 6 / 10

SUSPENDERBOYS for sale: https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/love-hate-rebellion/id496492910?ign-mpt=uo%253D4

SUSPENDERBOYS site: http://www.lovehaterebellion.com/
http://www.facebook.com/lovehaterebellionmusic

Love Hate Rebellion: Suspenderboys (2012)
Love Hate Rebellion: Suspenderboys (2012)
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