Loveless is here to save FM radio
Getting a song on the radio. For some it's the end-all, be-all, for others it's the end. For Loveless it's the point.
"I write songs so people can hear them," guitarist, lead singer and sole songwriter Dave Wanamaker said defiantly of the Boston/New York City-based band. "So yeah I'm OK with being called radio-friendly or whatever."
Seasoned by years in Boston's scene, Loveless knows the pitfalls of seeming success. Wanamaker and bassist Peter Armata found relative success (and woes) with the now-defunct and formerly Columbia-signed Expanding Man, guitarist Jen Trynin did tribulation-addled time on Warners and drummer Tom Polce has more than one full plate with Senor Happy, Crème Brulee and Bill Janowitz's Crown Victoria.
And if radio-friendly is what it takes, then Loveless heeds the call - with respected aplomb. "A Gift to the World," their full-length debut now out on Q Division, is spilling over with big hooks and bigger guitars - from the, as Wanamaker kidded, Def Leppard lick that kicks off "Go" (now in rotation on FNX) to doo doo's on the chorus of "You Wore Me Out" to the sexy, fuzz-pedal bass on "Stick to the Girl."
Wanamaker isn't afraid of ballads either. At the mention of the album's slower tracks, he exclaimed "I love Journey!" without a trace guilt, even admitting to torturing friends - who don't know whether to laugh or cry - with late-night plays of the ballad of all ballads, "Open Arms."
At 10 tracks long, the album is a maxi EP by today's standards, set by bands who think the audience wants to hear every sub-par track simply because it was recorded.
"I don't know. Some people probably think they're being cheated if there aren't 15 songs on an album," Wanamaker, who had 20 songs for "Gift to the World," explained of the album's brevity. "But [producer] Mike [Denneen] and I sat down and we were like, 'Which songs don't work?' Good songwriters know when they write bad songs."
What remains is solid. And the final product was so meticulously crafted, it's almost like a Jenga puzzle - remove once piece and it might fall apart. But Wanamaker insisted "it's still raw and rough-and-tumble."
The rawest, the most visceral guitar onslaught comes on the title track - a song that grabs the unsuspecting listener by the lapel and doesn't let go, a song so huge the only justice would be hearing it in an arena.
Small clubs will have to do. For now.
- Selene Angier
Copyright © 2003 Loveless. All Rights Reserved.