Review Summary: All your favorite bands before they sold out.
The fascinating modern age we live in presents more outlets for musical creativity than any given artist could dream to explore in a lifetime. The possibilities the personal computer and, by extension, the internet afford alone are nigh-infinite. The 21st century is changing the way people are discovering, distributing, and writing music. A band no longer needs to find itself altogether in a studio to work their craft in an age of digital recordings and email. Artists from all over the world work together on projects without ever having set foot through a common door in some cases. Love Axe is the product of one such (though not as an extreme) collusion between Suburban Sprawl Music-alums Heath Johnson and Chris Hatfield. Hailed as the “culmination of years of collaborative effort” between the two, Love Axe’s debut Phenomenomenons
is a fever-dream album of gargantuan ambition that brings so much to the proverbial table that its proverbial legs would give out from under it. It’s nothing short of a delightful- if somber- musical variety show.
cribs from the pages of many of the best alternative acts of the past thirty years, the end result being a spectacular mash-up or romping pop songs and raucous rockers. This is an album for cynics by cynics with central themes revolving around death and the end of the world - and the comparison thereof, but contains enough tongue-in-cheek witticisms in the thoughtfully constructed lyrics sheet to balance the bleak nature appropriately. Love Axe set the album’s tone immediately with “Hundreds of Knives” exemplifying straightaway that this duo can hang with the elite of post-Seattle Explosion alternative rock songwriters. Phenomenomenons
takes a sudden twist for the memorable at “North Carolina,” an uplifting pop track anchored as most are on this record by a wonderful piano line. Next up is the farthest departure from Love Axe’s core sound “Sex Sounds,” with 70s prog inspired vocal effects driven by dubstep in a way that’s sure to make hipsters roll their eyes in the most irritating
From here Love Axe are sure to have their audience completely enchanted. “Dystopian Future” carries on the Orwellian-esque ideals and is followed by the spectacular “Moderation” which finds the band flipping a satirical bird at themselves and everything else while questioning the need for reserve when one is staring down a loaded barrel. “Never” has Love Axe combining all of Phenomenomenons
' diverse facets (and questionably healthy interest in gasoline) in masterful fashion. A huge debt is to be owed to producer Denis Blount, a former band-mate of Johnson and Hatfield’s. The mix of the many instruments and soundscapes that make the album is truly phenomenal, with minimalist use of sampling and guest vocals adding a dash of flavor to keep things from dragging at any time. The feeling Phenomenomenons
elicits is that of a candle, with a solid, non-flickering flame burning amidst visible, tangible swirls and gusts of wind. Love Axe have conjured up a fabulous brew of broad appeal with charisma to spare. Phenomenomenons
is an early album of the year contender and it deserves to be savored by all the people it could easily please.