Pure Love - Anthems (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
IF ever an album was aptly named, then Pure Love’s debut Anthems is it.
Every track aspires to anthemic status, combining pop-rock radio friendliness with indie and alternative heaviness. It’s a far cry from the hardcore punk and rock roots of this duo’s previous incarnations: in Frank Carter’s case with Gallows and in Jim Carroll’s case with Hope Conspiracy.
What’s more, there’s more optimisim in the lyrics, too. The hatred, vitriol and provocative nature of past song-writing replaced by something altogether more accessible.
The result is a decent listen and one that’s sure to quadruple their appeal. Tracks of note include rousing album opener She, which begins with the sort of meaty guitar intro that Oasis might have been proud of, before hitting you with the type of vocal display the Manics have honed as their own.
Bury My Bones kicks off amid similarly emphatic drum arrangements before sliding into a more, well, anthemic slice of radio-friendly, stadium-filling rock (complete with chant-along chorus), while The Hits flirts with something more heavy rock before embracing the melody that keeps the album geared towards the mainstream.
The first real highlight, however, is Anthem, which opens amid some bluesy electric guitar riffs, some haunted harmonies and a desolate vocal that cries out: “Down, down, down we go.” It slow-builds, of course, complete with layering, to a punchy, gritty, gutsy anthem (that word again).
Beach of Diamonds picks up the pace immediately, though, with some polished guitar work and another Oasis vibe, while Handsome Devils Club is an unabashed rock-out with a nice line in humour (think Clash meets The Smiths with a touch of Gallows and even some early Manics).
Heavy Kind of Chain slows down the pace again to pleasing effect, with more than a little touch of the Morrissey in its song-writing and vocal delivery, while Burning Love, with its bass-heavy intro, is a brooding effort that drops explosive riffs like hand-grenades, and album closer March of the Pilgrims even channels both early U2, with a really Bono-esque vocal, and ’90s era Bush (with some of its alt rock-influenced riffs).
The criticism of the album stems from the fact that there’s probably not enough diversity to really make it stand out. A lot of the tracks follow the same kind of formula and while certainly good at what they do, they could also benefit from the element of surprise.
That said, if pulse-pounding, energetic, stadium-sized rock anthems are your thing, complete with rousing and passionately delivered lyrics, then Pure Love deliver the goods in spades.
Download picks: She, Anthem, Heavy Kind of Chain, Burning Love, March of the Pilgrims