Review Summary: Is Love all you need?
Frank Carter’s decision to leave Gallows and form Pure Love was enough to cause a mini-meltdown within various internet territories. The usual, tired and tepid cries of “SELL OUT!” followed the news. In an ironic twist, fans of Gallows, who for the most part probably pride themselves on their tolerance of the new and different, tried to crush Carter under the weight of their oh-so-ferocious internet commentary for trying something…new and different. To compare the punk group with Pure Love is like weighing up the similarities between chalk and cheese (one is great melted on toast…the other is a primary ingredient of cheeseburgers).
The dust should have well and truly settled by now, and those who have pledged defiance towards their former icon are missing out, as Anthems
appears to have defied expectations. At heart a pop-rock record with myriad malicious twists, Pure Love have thrown their hat into the ring at a time when the BRIT Awards have shown just how dog-eared and tired the mainstream scene is.
…and make no mistake about it, Anthems
is an attack on the public consciousness designed to burrow its way into our ears. Opener “She (Makes The Devil Run Through Me)” sets the pace that barely lets up to the album’s end. The track is just one of those on offer that allows us a very stark glimpse into Carter’s mind, once hidden behind wanton aggression during his time with his former group. “Stop me before I hurt myself, I am a picture of perfect health” croons (yes, that’s right) Carter. For a man who has since publically declared himself once so out of control it’s almost heartening to hear a positive statement.
Given that Pure Love’s braintrust resides with Carter and the big American Jim Carroll, Anthems
is enveloped by a trans-Atlantic flavour that brings out the best of both worlds. “Anthem”, with its coda of triumph through adversity, conveys an image of London’s dark and rainy streets that hold untold promise despite appearances to the contrary. Elsewhere, “Beach Of Diamonds” breezes by in a rush of sunny, slick guitar pop with a chorus that just won’t quit; pure Americana.
Carter’s recent marriage appears to have done little to dim his sexual desire. “Handsome Devils Club” sees him call for a “good girl, who will get down on her knees”, while on “Burning Love” he promises an unnamed beau that he will “pin you up against the wall and drag you out across the floor.” Is he serious? Is he playing? Who knows. That’s what makes Pure Love such an enticing prospect; there’s a sense of the theatrical blended in subtly among the very genuine declarations of self that pepper the rest of the album.
A lot was made of the opening line of Pure Love’s first single, “Bury My Bones”; “I’m so sick of singing about hate, it’s never gonna make a change.” Even this reviewer clung onto it like a lifeboat named HMS Easy Copy in prior articles. But it’s the chorus of “Beach Of Diamonds” that gives us a more concise look at this band’s motivation. “Dive in, sometimes you gotta throw caution to the wind.” Be thankful, because such a philosophy has provided something a little bit special for all of us to enjoy.