Love In The Age Of War
Cobraside Records, 2012
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/27/2012
Yep, you read that right. A new Men Without Hats album in 2012. Though it's unavoidable you'll immediately think of “The Safety Dance” when hearing their name, these Canadian New Wavers actually put out a slew of excellent releases through the '80s. Their first effort in a decade, Love In The Age Of War, proves the seminal outfit is still capable of penning melodic, synth-pop fun.
The disc opens with “Devil Come Round,” and front man Ivan Doroschuk's deep voice sounds identical to the band's heyday. “Head Above Water” follows, the band showing their penchant for upbeat, energetic, and playful pop songwriting. Though most of this moves at a quick pace, “Close To The Sun” is a slow motion version of the band, and breaks up the stream of buzzing, hook-filled rockers. “Live And Learn” shows the band lacing their vintage sound with a contemporary version of themselves, sounding like it could have been an outtake from Rhythm Of Youth but with a more mature angle. “Loves Epiphany,” on the other hand, stays completely in the '80s, drawing parallels to the almighty Depeche Mode.
With their animated keyboard melodies and catchy basslines sounding just as instantly memorable as they did in the '80s, along with Doroschuk's inimitable voice and his unique delivery, hearing this is not unlike seeing an old friend after a long absence. Everything just falls into place like it did in the past.
Comeback albums are a dime a dozen these days, but this is worth looking into. While many of their peers are content rehashing their previous work, Men Without Hats are still getting better and writing songs that deserve to be heard. The songwriting here is top notch and the production amazing. Add the timeless songcraft, backing female vocals, and a well-done ballad and you get a triumphant return from one of the all time greats.