Lovedrug - Wild Blood
Street Talk Records, 2012
Several of the songs on Wild Blood, (the title track, "Premonition," "Ladders," and "Your Country," especially) sound like they were meant to be played on the highway on a sweltering summer day: this is windows-rolled-down, sun-in-your-eyes, sing-along rock 'n' roll. "Sure shot, you were always my sure shot," Shephard belts out on "Pink Champagne", surrounded by a rain of guitars and a driving drum beat that transforms the chorus into one of the album's finest. Elsewhere, "Girl" provides the album with its slowest and most pensive moment, a gorgeous acoustic love song whose chorus ("I wanna set myself on fire tonight/I spent thirty years not knowing you/I can't afford to waste more time running around the world/When all I know is you're my girl") lodged itself in my brain after a single listen. "Great Divide" is another quieter moment, accented by an entrancing electric guitar line and Shepherd's engaging vocals.
Any complaints about this record will be silenced by the end though, as Lovedrug saves their best for last in the form of the sweepingly climactic "Anodyne." Even to the ears of someone who had no experience with the band's music, the song is perfect. For as long as I can remember, I've always partially judged albums on the strength of their closers, and it's not a rare occurence for the final moment to be my favorite on any given record. "Anodyne" flawlessly fits into the tradition, becoming an immediate contender for the song of the year title, as well as one that will almost certainly serve as the soundtrack for countless moments in my life over the next few months. Distorted guitars compliment Shephard's emotional vocals, building to a bridge that is nothing short of sublime. "Black is the rain when it's washing away/All of our sinners and saint's delight," Shephard sings, roaring through the lines as the album's remaining seconds dwindle and dissolve around him. "Bathe if you want, there is always some more/If you need, if you want..." It's a chilling moment right from the first listen, and it does exactly what it's supposed to do: it makes the listener want to flip the record over or hit replay so that they can just experience the entire thing over again. That's a surefire sign of a great album, and Wild Blood is one of the best that 2012 has had to offer thus far: clearly it's about time I took a trip through the Lovedrug back catalog.