Lovedrug, from near Canton Ohio is an up and coming band in the world, but they have been well known in and around Ohio for a long time. I only saw them for the first time a couple months ago, but I have been hearing about these guys for a long time. After seeing them at the Grog Shop opening up for Braid, I know why there is such a buzz.
This band hit the tiny Grog stage, made it their own and created soundscapes that would have been more fitting in a place 20 times the size of the club. A combination of lush guitars, keyboards, solid bass and creative drumming just jam away. And then Michael Shepard's voice comes in. He is over the top. He is whispering desperately. He is exploring all aspects of his voice from hitting guttural notes to a lofty falsetto.
Don't get me wrong, there are some good songs here to be sure, but Michael Shepard's vocals make this band what they are.
I just received a copy of Lovedrug's debut CD entitled, Pretend You're Alive. I was a little more than curious to see if they could pull off, on CD, what I had seen them do so beautifully in a live setting. I will be honest when I say that the CD could never be as good as their live show. At the same time the CD is really good and I would be surprised if it isn't very successful. Why? The songs are a diverse mix of grandiose pop/indie rock, which will have boys pumping fists and in the next moment have girls hugging themselves.
"Pretend You're Alive" is a beautiful starting song that shows the band's flow combined with their mysterious song structures. It sounds like something that would fit in the soundtrack to Edward Scissorhands or something. The best overall rock song on the album is "Rock N Roll" with its excellent chorus and hammering riff. But this song isn't my favorite. "Down Towards the Ceiling" is the one song on the album which really impresses me. It starts off slowly and beautifully before the full band comes in. The vocals soar. The song takes you on a journey before bringing it back down to finish.
It is this song which, better than any others, captures the beauty and energy of their live show.