LOVE N WAR – Up the Annie (2012)
The other day, I saw Guns N Roses walk into a back alley to meet up with KISS and Skid Row. Whitesnake looked on from a distance for a short while before they all started beating the crap out of each other. When it was all done, Love N War walked out into the street with their latest release, Up The Annie.
Up The Annie is a future classic local hit from a few guys that have been around the local scene for quite a while, and it shows in their writing, playing, and overall panache. Singing that soars over rootsy guitar riffs with blistering lead work deliver hooks you cannot escape. Drumming that is anything but boring exists on every track while the bass, although a little weak for my taste, does have a few bright and shining moments.
A couple, but certainly not the only, hot spots on this album are located in slots four and six. “6 Feet” kicks in with a straight-ahead drum pattern and a guitar riff with a lot of groove. “Dead Man Walkin’” almost has a little 90’s grunge sound, but with a lot more edge. Nice vibrato on the clean guitar there…
One of my favorites is the second track, “Save Me,” which starts off with a very Steve Vai-ish bluesy guitar circa the movie Crossroads. Hooks abound all over this song, especially in this highly sing-able chorus. The best song on here has to be “710 Groove.” What can I say? I’m all about the groove! “Hungry” is also single-worthy. Here is where the bass guitar shines the brightest. It reminds me a lot of the mighty Steve Harris.
One of the interesting things about Up The Annie is the way the whole feel of the album changes gears entirely after the eighth track. From a GNR kind of blues-groove heard on the first eight songs, especially with a heavy “Mr. Brownstone” flavor on “Freakshow,” to tracks nine and ten… which is apparently when Whitesnake decided to enter that back alley.
Track 9, “Meltdown,” is easily the heaviest song on the CD. Still with the same hook and groove familiar with Love N War, it is the closest to metal as they get. “The Haunting,” the CD’s final cut, is where you’ll hear the band’s Whitesnake influence best. Squealing guitar, sharp stops and starts, and confident vocals even give this song a strong appeal. I can totally see this song on the soundtrack for the next Nightmare On Elm Street movie…
Love N War deliver up strong musicianship (yes, that includes vocals) and quality writing throughout this entire project. A straight-ahead hard rock intensity with a modern production boast that these guys will be here for a while. Makes me wish more bands would beat the crap out of each other in back alleys…
Scott, Thanks for the awesome review, we are ready to battle it out with those bands again and make a new record by next summer, will keep you posted! \m/
Looking forward to it!
Love N War is one of my favorite bands new and fresh with the strength of the music I grew up on. I am a faithful fan, I am a Warhead!
You are a very clever writer Scott! Great article about a very kick a– band!
John Adams gave me a copy of this a while back, and I completely agree with Scott. It was really good. I dug “The Haunting” and “Save Me” quite a bit.