Did you hear that cracking sound? That was my heart breaking. I fell in love with this band back in 1990 after my exposure to their incredible classic known as 'Blackout In The Red Room'.
Thinking this was a one off I didn't get too ecstatic when their second album came out, but I purchased it regardless and thank goodness! It rocked my world like their debut did. Songs that Skid Rose had written were full of personality, abstract observation and simple pleasures. 'Wasted In America' could and should have made this band hugely successful, but instead gained them plenty of respect and a plethora of plaudits.
Things came untangled by the time their third album 'Let's Rumble' was released despite containing such gems as 'If You Believe In Miracles' or the title track for example. The less said about the next two studio albums the better...
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Which brings you and me to this junction where Love/Hate announces several UK dates throughout March 2014 and a new album; firstly this isn't a Love/Hate album, and secondly it isn't a full blown album release. 'Crucified' constitutes a six track E.P. which has been written mostly by the Pearly one we know as Jizzy. Jizzy Pearl has already amassed some good solo releases and has shown one and all that he's a solid songwriter on his own merits.
Skid Rose is missing in action in literal terms, although I have my suspicions that in spirit he is floating like the proverbial ghost throughout these recordings. Especially on the track 'Too Late' which addresses the tenderness felt for the past, or as Jizzy himself explains: "A song about someone near and dear to me who f**ked up."
I'm merely guessing and could be very wrong in my deductions, but the song despite the muse that lurks behind the lyrical content, is missing the magic spark that makes Love/Hate material so distinguishable.
Pearl's vocals remain as harsh as they always have, and this is the familiarity that grounds the new material. 'Hanging You Out To Dry' begins like a Motörhead song until his vocals kick in. It ends like a punk song only to welcome aboard 'Sunny Day'. This carries the vibe of the 'I'm Not Happy' album yet exceeds the quality of those songs. Listen out for the section where it breaks down and gets psychedelic and quirky; a real delight.
'You're Making Me Nervous' is the sort of length that you'd expect from prime Love/Hate but doesn't have the vibe of classic era Love/Hate. According to Pearl: "It's a fictional account of every man's idea of a bad date. The lyrics come straight from the horse's mouth as he watches his Friday night fantasy crash and burn."
This is followed by 'I Don't Want To Be Your Baby' which rolls out of the yard with acoustic guitars strummed and a world-weary Pearl crooning. It isn't written by Rose and as a consequence doesn't sound as good as 'Don't F**k With Me'.
By the time you hear the slight hint of an Arabic flavour from 'Love Is All', you're wondering what is coming next. Pearl explains that this song has its roots embedded in 'Kashmir' style Led Zeppelin when they listened to that around a peace pipe and an open fire. Don't misunderstand me when I say these aren't as good as classic era Love/Hate, because these songs just aren't quite right for that label. What they should have done is put Jizzy Pearl as the artist behind this set of songs, simple as that; problem solved.
Pearl has released plenty of good hard rock music as a solo artist and this could have been an extended player to add to his back catalogue. Instead, somewhere along the lines someone has been influenced in calling this a “Love/Hate” release, quite plausibly due to these UK dates (March the 6th to 23rd of March) which are coming up? I apologise for not hearing the true definitive Love/Hate charm within these songs, but my ears are so used to being battered by their true charismatic genius, courtesy of Skid Rose.
Without him, you get a good songwriter in the shape of Jizzy Pearl, with a unique voice and some decent tracks to top off proceedings for his own catalogue. This just isn't Love/Hate and deep down inside, I think he is aware of that.
Hanging You Out To Dry
You're Making Me Nervous
I Don't Want To Be Your Baby
Love Is All
For an E.P. that is sold to us as a Love/Hate release.