You’ve got to hand it to Lovelife – at least they held no secrets by naming their latest EP “Feel”. Through the course of four songs, Lovelife prove that they’re masters of the unfocused, emotionally vague melodrama that made Imagine Dragons and The Weeknd so successful. While the aforementioned bands hone in on a specific style of music to inject with their brand of emotional high fructose corn syrup, Lovelife take a free-for-all approach to ensure maximum endorphin release. With just a pinch of Chester Bennington signature whine, a hearty shot of reverb, four-on-the-floor electro beats that command dancing and such poignant lyrics as “Life is a simple thing”, Lovelife provides for listeners a sort of high octane, goosebump-inducing Monster energy drink.
Of course, even snooty college music reviewers have energy drinks. That’s why on “Feel”, Lovelife deliver moments of promise and authenticity. The opening track, “Your New Beloved”, features Bon Iver-style vocoder harmonies over a quietly churning beat, as if to warm the album up for the sentimental maelstrom to come. Despite being one of the less explosive and the only vocally manipulated song on the EP, it’s patient and inventive enough to feel genuine. In fact, the song’s hook (“Every time I think of you / Hoping you’re just someone new / Don’t make me lose my mind”) captures the intoxicating if maddening allure of new love; a theme that doesn’t exactly explore new depths of truth but is tangible enough to get emotionally invested in. I’ll take it.
Sadly, as “Feel” progresses it never quite manages to reach the level of sincerity found on “Your New Beloved”. On “Every Minute”, the 808 beat, squealing guitars and expansive synths set a backdrop that suggests something nocturnal and exotic. Perhaps you’d think the song is about a mysterious apparition or a metropolis on Venus. Unfortunately, the façade comes crashing down when the band’s singer delivers a disinterested chorus that carries on the assumption that listeners will be moved by anything sounding remotely close to a Linkin Park vocal.
Other tracks, like the closer “Everybody Wants to Be Someone Else”, substitute reverb for genuine emotion. The track, with its cascading synths and stadium-sized snare hits, sets the tone for the universal theme that will tie the EP and resonate with everyone. Lovelife chose to capitalize on exactly what the song’s title implies: Everybody wants to be someone else. As is the problem with all too many bands, the mantra loses its depth once you listen past the reverb. Nice try, Lovelife.
If iTunes endorsement of Lovelife as “Single of the Week” material is any indication, Lovelife should seep its way into mainstream awareness as the year progresses. They’ve got just the right mix of generalized emotions and implied depth to strike a chord with the public. Ultimately though, while there are gems on here, there’s just too much gloss and not enough substance to deliver anything truly worthwhile.
Howard is a member of the class of 2017.