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Album Review: Love Over Lust – L|R

Shortly after forming in 2013, Filipino outfit Love Over Lust, at the time a duo, steadily built a live presence in the Manila indie scene with their brand of blues, grunge, and garage rock. Four years later, they successfully translated their live ethos into a full-length debut album, Little By Little. These days, thanks to Lawrence and Brian adding Bars to the lineup (that being the name of their new bassist), Love Over Lust has officially become a power trio, and continues to expand upon the approach they’re known for.

As such, the band’s latest album, L|R, features a noticeable improvement in production quality, with its vocal and instrumental arrangements sounding fuller and more distinct. Half of its material also consists of previous singles released within a five-year span. “Men Running On Fire” rightfully works as the track to kick off the album. Considering the song’s fast tempo and its already huge foundation of riffs, the low end adds a subtle, almost metal-esque punch to the verses and chorus. The break toward the remaining part of the track feels more complete with the bass groove, and there’s solid interplay with the solo at this point which I’m all for. Somehow, “Money Makes The World Go Round,” the track to follow, also qualifies as a strong opener, but the contrastingly laid back chorus rightfully makes it more natural as the second track. The blunt force of the riffs and unflinching swagger stays constant throughout, and it’s interesting how the bass work here functions like a staircase that both harmonically complements and bolsters them effectively. After the bluesy angle is established, “Pitch Black” and “Layag” are the first in the set of originals written for this album, which also contain greater melodic nuance. For album tracks, they are quite catchy and do have a lot of potential as singles. The latter song has the best utilization of bass accompaniment on this side, fitting and really locking in alongside the rest of the instrumentation.
By the album’s latter half, the remainder of the singles fit perfectly. “Love Tap” and “She’s Crazy (I Still Love Her)” not only play their parts in sustain the momentum but have a bright power pop-driven hook factor. From this point on, keeping the pace fresh is this side’s core asset. “Hungry Soul”, the last of the upgraded singles, fulfills that purpose equally by slowing things down a bit, while also featuring solid, straight ahead guitar solo phrasing. Its successor, “Shimmery” works in a similar vein, and took me by pleasant surprise in it starting off like a radio single, but gradually revealing a deep cut form as it progresses. Up to this point, a majority of the album’s thematic leanings center around being in a state of limbo as life transpires, but the last two tracks, “It’s All Good, Man” and “Surf Pajamas” carry a much more lighthearted tone and end the album on a positive note.

Overall, L|R not only demonstrates clear growth in its presentation, but captures a similar dynamic in relation to the band’s name. In the case of modern indie albums, I’m continually impressed at how the integration of the band’s recent singles in an album context is well-executed so that it blends seamlessly with the other tracks and is beneficial to the album’s pacing. Love Over Lust is well on their way to becoming more mature storytellers, and a well-rounded, sophisticated band.

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About Jake Kussmaul

I come from a family who is passionate about all things music. I learned to sing at an early age, and by 13, had my very own Fender Strat guitar. I tried my hardest at learning all that I could. Because I was born with cerebral palsy, I had to teach myself an adaptive playing style. I learned to write and record my own music, despite these difficulties. In college, I started making great use of my writing abilities by reviewing music, as well as copy editing. I guess it's best to stick with what you know, while welcoming a fair challenge at the same time.

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