Review Summary: Nothing new here. What would you expect from female-fronted gothic rock.
The music business is stuck in a vicious cycle that they just can’t seem to break away from. When a genre’s popularity starts to wane due to over-saturation, the record labels will begin to look for the next big thing. Eventually they’ll find it (or just make it up) and exploit it until it is completely driven into the ground. It’s not just a problem with major labels either, independents are just as guilty of it. A perfect example is the female-fronted gothic rock genre. Female-fronted gothic rock has always struggled to maintain enough quality material to be relevant, but after Evanescence
broke into the mainstream everything went to hell. These days there are easily ten times as many generic bands as there are quality artists, and it’s killing a genre that has mostly been on life support to begin with. So, where does that leave a band like Italy’s The LoveCrave? While they’re not going to be another knife through the heart of the genre, they’re also not making any attempt to be its savior either.
Instead of trying to do anything different or ambitious, they’re more concerned with crafting songs around the almighty hook. For the most part they succeed, but everything else seems to suffer as a consequence. Their integration of mainstream rock as a means to enhance the choruses has mostly resulted in riffs that fade into the background over beats that are streamlined down to their most basic elements. That’s not to say that there aren’t the occasional exciting sections, but they’re mostly reserved for accentuating the hooks (or building up to them). One element that really does work for the band, though, is their keyboard sound. The LoveCrave have avoided the pitfalls associated with the huge walls of keyboards that the genre is known for, and have opted for a more modern industrial approach instead. It is often these subtle beats, loops, and melodies that carry the verses and one of the big reasons that the album doesn’t fall flat. The other reason is due to the unique vocals of Francesca Chiara. Her vocals are delivered in a semi-nasally style that will end up being the element that makes or breaks the band for a lot of people. She is also able to deliver the huge soaring vocals associated with the genre, but she uses them solely as a means accentuate certain sections of each song.
It’s no secret that the gothic rock genre needs a savior, but as long as bands can maintain a decent level of quality it probably won’t be dying off any time soon. The LoveCrave’s upbeat approach that centers around streamlined musical output in favor of big choruses probably isn’t doing the genre any favors, but it’s not bad either. In a genre known for its abundance of below-average crap, Soul Saliva
at least stands out by being one of its few good recent releases.