Review Summary: A convoluted mess that really signifies a band running low on decent ideas.
While all music is subjective, I think it’s fair to say most would agree that 30STM had a promising start to their career with their 2002 self titled debut, but have lost a lot of momentum with every release since.
It’s hard to see what Love Lust Faith + Dreams tries to do and who it’s target audience is. It’s an album that tries to have the epic scope of a Hollywood movie score from, say, a Christopher Nolan film. It tries to give you the songs as radio-friendly and easy listening as possible, whilst making you think they have depth. It also tries its best to have you believe it is both intelligent and well thought out.
According to Jared LLF+D started off as a collection of 200+ songs that were carefully whittled down to the 12 tracks that are on the finished product. To be blunt, if these 12 songs were the strongest from 200 songs then I dread to think what the rejects sounded like.
There are so many ideas thrown at this album, that it’s hard to tell when it’s coming or going. The start of the album is probably at its most consistent, but it isn’t saying much. ‘Birth’ starts off with steady drumming with Jared singing and slowly builds up until you hear this unearthly bass sound drop. A pretty good idea, but the song doesn’t really go anywhere after it’s given you its peak. And you couldn’t really call it an intro track, because it does little to line up the second single for the album ‘Conquistador’, which just sounds like a dodgy You Me At Six B-side.
‘Up In the Air’ is certainly a take it or leave it track and one that divided the 30STM fanbase even further. Personally I found this to be the strongest single from the album, and took it as a fairly solid pop/rock song. City of Angels is another average affair, but it does have some nice lyrical content to make it stand up a little from some of the songs on here.
Anything past City of Angels just goes off the radar and follows no continuity or pattern in terms of sound. From really bad attempts at epic instrumental tracks like ‘Pyres of Varanasi’ which has this awful horn sound at the end of the song which just sounds like Jared trying to rip-off Hans Zimmers Inception score, to ‘The Race’ which has to have one of the worst transitions ever. So bad infact, I actually thought it went on to a different song. And the song itself is painfully poor.
To be honest, with the exception of ‘End of All days’ -- which I’d say is my favourite track on LLF+D – and Northen Lights, the rest of the songs are barely worth mentioning; paper thin compositions with more often than not laughably odd transitions. It just feels like Jared went “right, I like that bit and that bit” whilst trying to force the two ideas together. Like a kid playing with a shape box toy, trying to force a square shape into the circle cutout.
Overall, fans of the old sound will be disappointed, and surprisingly, fans of the This is War sound will be equally disappointed. This album is at best dull and at worst an awkward mess. Too many ideas floating around and the few average/semi-interesting ideas on offer are badly executed. I find little to recommend here.