Gift to the World (Q Division)
I remember listening to music on FM radio during the late 70s and early 80s as a teen. Before pop and rock radio stations became too formatted with the same Top 40 songs, a wide variety of tunes streamed on the airwaves shifting from style to style. Segar, Petty and Styx rocked on guitar, ELO and Donna Summer pumped out disco-influenced bass lines, The Clash whipped fans into a frenzy, Blondie and Gary Numan ushered in New Wave, Queen’s Freddie Mercury and Elton John belted out dramatic ballads. Every night the radio unleashed a soundtrack that made me listen closely and believe in the music. MTV didn’t exist yet. My only impressions of the bands and artists came from what I heard without the benefit of eye candy videos, celebrity-obsessed cable TV shows, or music mags besides Rolling Stone. I formed my likes and dislikes based on what I heard.
So when I received the Loveless CD Gift to the World in the mail a couple of weeks ago, I flashed back to those teenage years. I hadn’t seen the band play live or appear in a video or posing like the Next Big Thing on Last Call with Carson Daly. I simply put the CD in the player, cranked up the volume, and believed in music again.
Growling guitars kick the door open on “Go” while the rhythm section propels you inside. Before you know it, Dave Wanamaker and Jen Trynin win your heart with driving guitar work and a sing along chorus. The lead single from the album pumps you up like a best friend’s smile. As the lead vocalist, guitarist and front man, Wanamaker stakes his claim as a songwriter of note with something to say in his solidly written tunes. Trynin fills out the vocals with a layer of soaring vocals offset by a bold rhythm guitar that set your hips shaking. Pete Armata’s bass and Tom Polce’s drums stake out a big, sexy sound for “ A Gift to the World.” Wanamaker’s voice grabs you by the collar and convinces you to pay attention, Trynin’s harmony smoothes out the mix. Three songs into the CD “You Wore Me Out” sweeps you along with a snappy drumbeat and a heavenly pop chorus. “Beautiful” doesn’t let up with another round of upbeat guitar chords and expansive vocals that will have you singing along relentlessly. “Cold” shifts into a slower ballad with a delicate touch. These songs sound familiar and approachable, easy to slip into like an old pair of jeans, growing more comfortable with each listen. Every track offers a well-built song protecting melodic pop lyricism within, touching on dark subjects––depression, failing romance, suicide––and leaving us with a path illuminated with beauty, honest emotion, a way to confront the day on your own terms.
The band (two members live in Boston, the other two reside in New York) present a thoughtful gift that should break well beyond East Coast radio into a broader market based on their sound alone. Loveless unleashes a formidable set of songs worth claiming as the soundtrack you’ll sing to in your own bedroom, in your car, in the middle of the world, believing in music again.
- Pete Dulin
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