Reviewed by: Stephen Krock
Every so often, like Halley’s Comet, there is a band that lights the sky so brilliantly. Lovecartel’s Battle Scars is that comet. Sprouting from the post-punk, indie rock soil and blossoming into something all their own, Lovecartel is a band to watch.
Battle Scars kicks off with the great “In Between Chaos and Sleep,” a seamless mélange of pop rock and jazzy sax. The chorus cries out about looking into the “window of your soul” and aptly so, as Lovecartel’s soul can be found wrapped up in this perfect package. You’ll notice right away that the lead vocals are uncannily reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos. Not criticism, just fact. Here, Ash Kernan displays just as much power and emotion, and is just as much of a joy to listen to.
The great thing about Lovecartel is that they know when to blast into orbit and when to pull it back. The aforementioned intro track, “Tattooed Ambulance,” the horn-infused “Bathroom Stall,” and electro-rock pop gospel “Lemme Hallah Atcha” beg, nay demand, movement from their listeners. To quote track three, “Rhythm Section,” it beats on, beats on, beats on. In between, we are treated to the breathy and dreamy “Don’t Waste Your Time” and the lyricless beauty, “L.U.S.T.,” with its lonely, lovely, one horse town guitar strums. “Souderton” is another marvel that displays both the highs and lows, leapfrogging from a bluesy ballad to power wails and back again. It all wraps up nicely with the beach party sunset song, “Zoltar Says.” Righteous.
Lovecartel may not sound altogether “new.” Once you dig into Battle Scars, you know what to expect for its duration. But the ride is no less thrilling. Keep an ear out for them.