Love, Hate And Then There's You

The Von Bondies

Majordomo, 2009

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


Love, Hate And Then There’s You, the fourth album from the punchy, punky Von Bondies, loses a little of the grit and energy of their previous efforts, but is still a fairly thorough half hour of raw-powered rock. Though the Von Bondies were cut from their deal with Warner Bros. and also underwent a fairly significant line-up change since the release of their acclaimed third album, 2003’s Pawn Shoppe Heart, replacing bassist Carrie Smith and guitarist Marcie Bolen, the group still sound strong here, and much of the material retains the driving riffs, stomping drums and frontman Jason Stollsteimer’s howling vocals.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The songs themselves are quick bursts of energy, with the longest clocking in at four minutes, and the relentless attack of the instrumentation a nice pairing for Stollsteimer’s slickly catchy choruses.

Opener “This Is Our Perfect Crime” steers the band in the direction of the prevailing indie scene by proclaiming, “We are the underground” as the track builds towards a raucous, explosive climax, while “Shut Your Mouth” and lead single “Pale Bride” are similar power-pop gems jammed full of solid riffs and crackling drumbeats.

Next up, “Only To Haunt You,” is reminiscent of The Killers in its sweeping scope and glossy harmonies -- likely courtesy of producers Butch Walker (Hot Hot Heat, All-American Rejects) and Rick Parker (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), who lend this disc a cleaner, less greasy punk sound than the sometimes sheer insanity of Pawn Shoppe Heart. Only closer “Modern Saints” really drifts from the jagged edge of the rest of the material here, unfolding over a longer runtime and adding in waves of synths and stadium-ready chants to achieve a sort of Arcade Fire sensibility. It’s a nice moment of experimentation on an otherwise solidly one-tone record.

Though the songs on Love, Hate And Then There’s You consistently sound built from the same mold, each one is still enjoyable, whether it’s newly added guitarist Christy Hunt and bassist Leann Banks providing the foil to Stollsteimer wailing, “You don’t look so cool but you look so alive” on “Chancer” or the short kiss-off “She’s Dead To Me” with its bitter, taunting harmonies.

We’re in the era of plaintive, anthemic indie, though, which has seemed to temper the Von Bondies’ sound, draining the gritty Detroit garage-rock of their roots and replacing it with cleaner, radio-ready choruses. But while the songs here will stick in your head, they won’t really touch your soul in the way you wish new music would.

Rating: C-

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© 2009 Melanie Love and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Majordomo, and is used for informational purposes only.