Lovedrug Returns

By Esperanza Juarez

In 2004, indie rock band Lovedrug released their debut LP,
“Pretend You’re Alive,” which reached the number four spot on
Billboard’s Internet chart. Three years later the Ohio-based band
is back with their full-length album “Everything Starts Where It
Ends,” due out March 6.

“Our self-defined purpose is to create music that strives to
evoke a feeling in the listener while at the same time, evoking
that same feeling in the band,” said lead singer Michael Shepard in
a press release.

Right off the bat, the band demonstrates its inventiveness on
its latest album with the haunting track “Happy Apple Poison.” With
lyrics such as, “Your apples poison the seed, will be the end of
me,” the eerie sounding song turns into a catchy enlivening track
with a mix of pop-rockesque vocals layered with traditional soft
rock instrumental.

The band’s sound veers a bit during the ballad titled,
“Thieving.” Had an 80s hair band sung this song they would have
likely garnered a lot of attention for trying something new and
different. However, Lovedrug by no means is an 80s hair band and in
listening to the entire album the track seems too predictable and
gets lost among the other songs.

Lovedrug’s most awkward song is titled “Dancing,” and at a
minute and fifteen seconds long the breathy performance may very
well leave listeners asking, “What’s the point?” The track sounds
like it has potential, but it is too short to garner anything of
great meaning.

The band redeems itself with “Ghost By Your Side,” which is an
edgier song about love and loss. With lyrics that read, “Don’t bare
your secrets they will rot, tear us apart, because love means going
this far even when the ending is only the start.” The song
progresses naturally from beginning to end with more grit and
heartache than other Lovedrug tracks. This song is a rather catchy
tune that will get people bobbing their heads to the beat, or at
least tapping a toe.

The album’s title track, “Everything Starts Where It Ends,” is
layered with instrumentation not heard on any other track and is a
nice way to wrap up the album. The grand mixture of sounds results
in a highly developed, intricate song that hints back at the
distinct assortment of the prior 11 tracks from the album.

It’s hard to pinpoint any specific signature sound for Lovedrug.
The band’s uniqueness truly lies in lead singer Michael Shepard’s
voice. His distinct vocals seamlessly meld with each track in a
believable way, where no vocal performance seems forced whether
he’s singing on a softer paced song or more rock driven track.

“This album is a documentation of a few years of collecting
pebbles on a beach and shining them, loving them, shaping them,
hating them, throwing them away and later recovering them, beating
them, methodically washing them and eventually releasing them,”
said Shepard.

One might question whether such a drawn out, personal recording
process could potentially isolate the band and prevent listeners
from connecting with the group’s latest set of songs. Somehow, with
a few exceptions Lovedrug makes it work.

Rather than a compilation of ultra personal songs that are
irrelevant to the masses “Everything Starts Where It Ends” is a
collection of tracks that offers something for almost every
critical ear.

Those with an eclectic taste in music will appreciate the
varying sounds on the album.

Those looking for a hard rock album to pump their fists in the
air to should look elsewhere or at least give the album a listen
with an open mind.

Esperanza Juarez can be reached by e-mail at
arts@thepolypost.com or by phone at (909) 869-3744.

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