Review Summary: Huggy Bear experiment with song structures and guitar-bass interplay.
Weaponry Listens to Love is a no-frills album. Huggy Bear trifled with no guitar solos, extended outros, or any form of padding. They stuck to the stripped-down formation of guitar, bass, and drums (a few piano and trumpet notes aside). The songs are short, fast, and aggressive. Unlike some of the band's post-hardcore contemporaries, Huggy Bear retained the style and sonic qualities of 80s punk.
But the album isn't merely an homage to past bands. There's plenty of musical experimentation going on here.
The song structures are incredibly innovative and unique. The band begins most songs by running through several riffs that are loosely related by their rhythm or melodic contour. Then they return to the beginning of this sequence and play it again, with some alterations this time. The odd songwriting formula and lack of repetition make it difficult for the listener to become familiar with the music. On the other hand, the songs stand up to repeated listens without getting stale.
The riffs sound absolutely inspired. Riffs on "Immature Adolescents," "Warming Rails," and "16 And Suicide" are relatively melodic, while the riffs are more rhythmic on "*** Your Heart," "Erotic Bleeding," and "Obesity & Speed in 15 Infractions."
The riffs aren't simply guitar lines doubled by the bass. Guitar and bass either play in elaborate harmonic progressions that incorporate contrary motion and major sevenths, or they play different parts at the same time to create a complete riff (aka hocketing). Because the bass is often serving a melodic or harmonic function, the rhythm-section responsibilities are ceded to the drummer, who keeps things steady with a powerful kick drum and adds character to the music with snare drum fills.
The band has two vocalists, and they occasionally sing independent lines at the same time ("For Insecure Offenders"), adding another layer of complexity.
This album has self-assured and high-energy performances of totally original punk songs.