Lovesick – S/T

I figured out the secret to Lovesick: listen to it loud. Quiet, all you get is a sense of chaotic percussion and low-end guitar, but loud, you really get the full sense of this wild and powerful emotive punk/hardcore/rock band. This Ann Arbor, Mich. trio is stellar, and they may have turned dissonant rock into an art form.
Describing Lovesick is rather difficult, however. At times, they play slightly melodic post-hardcore that sounds more reminiscent of the Jazz June or Casket Lottery, and at others they flirt with a more hardcore style ala Hot Water Music or Small Brown Bike. Then there’s moments of powerful, almost math-rock fury, ala Sweep the Leg Johnny, but they really don’t sound like any of those bands. Add driving, powerful guitars, percussion that’s all over the place, and vocals that shout and whine with the best of them – and some female vocals here and there – and you get a fantastic, wild album.
“Hateful” starts off with a more straight-forward driving guitar and dissonant vocal assault, but it’s merely an intro for the stellar “Where Are…” (the song title is actually a full paragraph). The instrumentation here, especially the powerful, throbbing bass lines and urgent, almost wild vocals really make this a fantastic song, and it flows nicely into “To the Dead,” which is even better. This one goes from urgent and steady to loose and shouting, the vocals almost losing cohesion but wrapping nicely around the fast-paced rock.
A bit more traditional emo, although not too melodic, is “Stacked to the Ceiling,” which shows the band’s penchant for the old-school style of more hardcore emo. The instrumentation on the longer “Crown” is a nice change, much more melodic, and it leads into the more math-rocky “Calm for Hits,” which has some tremendous percussion and bass. The lyrics in “This Spring’s Bat Wings” show the band’s penchant for emotionally charged content: “I’ll wait for you / in the places where sweetness leaves its imprint as it passes / I can still hear your heart / synchronized with mine / from across the other side of town.” Female spoken (and sung) vocals lend a totally different feel to “Drumtaut,” and “Don’t Go Out Alone” is a crazy, wild guitar-and-drum fest of rock that’s all over the place.
Sometimes, I absolutely love this kind of stuff, and I certainly haven’t heard a band play this free and lose and powerful without going fully into hardcore territory in a long time. I hear Lovesick is a can’t-miss live band, and I can imagine it. On album, they’re barely in control, and I picture their live sets as pure frenzy, which is just what I love about these folks.