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Saturday, 2 February 2013

Pure Love : Anthems - a wolf in sheep's clothing

I confess my heart sank when the laptop pinged, announcing the arrival of ‘Pure Love Anthems’ in my inbox.

There’s only so many times you can stomach Whitney Houston et al giving it some welly. And don’t get me started on Simply Red ...

But wait. Despite an album sleeve that looks like a building society advert, love is not all around. There’s no sign of Wet Wet bloody Wet.

Pure Love turns out to be the new band fronted by Gallows frontman Frank Carter, the British artist formerly known as tattooed and angry.

Gone is his strangled punky metal shouting. “I learned to sing,” shrugs Carter, who has teamed up with US guitarist Jim Carroll – he of Hope Conspiracy credentials – in the band.

“We’ve always liked big, hook-filled rock songs. I was brought up on The Beatles, Bowie, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. Now I’ve found my voice.

“The intention is to write honest rock songs that are about love and death and sex. But to sell some records and have the big show, too.

“There isn’t anything like this out there – that’s why we did it. We need to shake things up. We want to put it all out there – blood, sweat and tears. But we also want to have fun.

“Everything is in place to do that essentially. And so far, so good.”

If the debut album is anything to go by, he’s right. Titled Anthems as a bit of a joke, the eleven songs on offer defy expectation by living up to the label. They’re anthems one and all.
Opening with the credible garage band guitar of She, the album motors through a radio-friendly setlist. Bury My Bones boasts almost a Darkness-style riff, Handsome Devils Club mixes Smiths jangle with rock and roll, Morrissey on steroids.

Burning Love lives up to its title, an intense drama of a song which threatens to explode, while Beach Of Diamonds has Beatley backbeat and a slice of 60s on the side.

Scared To Death gives Foo Fighters a run for Dave Grohl’s megabucks, and Anthem is deceptively docile before building into a rock and roll frenzy.

Best are Riot Song, with its irresistible stadium chant, and March Of The Pilgrims, with marries a U2 dynamic with the densely layered guitars of, say, 30 Seconds To Mars.

Absolutely the only pure love anthems album you’ll need this year.

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