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Pure Love - Anthems (Album Review)

Sunday, 27 January 2013 Written by Alec Chillingworth
Pure Love - Anthems (Album Review)

“I’m so sick of singing about hate, it’s never gonna make a change!” These lyrics make me chuckle. Not because they’re funny. No. They make me chuckle because they’re sung by Frank Carter. And the last time I saw Frank Carter, he was at risk of shredding his vocal chords whilst screaming “Misery fucking loves me! And I love her so!” in front of an incessantly violent crowd. At 11 O’clock in the morning. He also got a circle pit going. At 11 O’clock in the morning, ladies and gentlemen. Surely you can all understand how taken aback I was when I heard him sounding, well... happy.

ImageAnd he should be happy. Along with ex-Hope Conspiracy and Suicide File guitarist Jim Carroll, Carter has shed the heaving, anarchic skin of his hardcore punk past, instead opting for an entirely different beast altogether. Opening up with the schmaltzy, almost croon-like vocal lines of ‘She’, Carter is making his intentions perfectly clear. This is a massive rock sing-along, exaggerated even further by an unashamedly cheesy guitar solo that sounds like it came straight from the 1980s. It’s a gloriously slick opening gambit; the song proving itself far too mature and self-aware to be lumped in with most of the pop punk rubbish being churned out nowadays.

This self-awareness is carried out in such an expertly brash way throughout the album’s entirety, sing-alongs being incited left, right and centre. The chorus during ‘Beach of Diamonds’ is an absolute belter, with the victorious cry of “Dive in! Dive in!” presenting itself as a potential live favourite for their UK tour next month. The same goes for ‘Riot Song’; it’s a huge, dumbed-down tune that people can sing along to, but it’s not trying to be clever at all. Single ‘Bury My Bones’ also contains a triumphant cry of “Yeaaaaaaah Yeah!” big enough to make Bowling For Soup and Blink 182 assess the validity of their own “Yeaaaaaaah Yeah!” usage.

Of course, it’s not the Frank Carter show. Carroll proves his playing chops throughout the album, accompanying the primal drumbeats with a smorgasbord of styles and effects. An almost indie-rock guitar tone is implemented in tunes such as ‘Handsome Devils Club’; of course, it’s played with ten times the testicles of any indie-rock band. The groove-laden riff during ‘Scared To Death’ is also worth a mention, purely due to the fact that the track ends accompanied by a phaser effect. You’ve gotta love a man who uses a phaser.

Classic rock seems to have somewhat seeped its way into our Jim’s pool of influences, with the riff to ‘Bury My Bones’ sounding suspiciously like the guitar line from ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ by The Darkness. Still, I can’t really complain; the song’s a corker. Carroll has a wonderful grasp on when to shred and when to shut up, and it truly is a virtue. The violin driven ballad ‘Heavy Kind Of Chain’ benefits endlessly from this, the guitars taking a backseat to allow the violins some time in the limelight. At least, I think they’re violins. Or maybe violas... They’re sad sounding stringed instruments, nonetheless.

Being a band made up of former punk musicians, it really is gratifying to hear the Pure Love record all the way through. Of course, there are inevitable moments where ghosts of music past rear their ugly heads; palm-muted guitar on ‘Handsome Devils Club’ threatens to explode into an aggressive frenzy, before safely returning to the indie-rock tone mentioned previously. Carter’s cockney slur lends itself superbly, giving songs a racy edge that once again prevents this band from being identified as anything other than Pure Love.

‘Anthems’. The album does what it says on the box, really. Eleven tracks of instant, unadulterated anthems. It’s a titanic, obscenely self-indulgent album on both members’ behalf, allowing them to write music that has eluded them until now. These songs are just made for the live environment; every single one packs enough raw power and sincerity to flatten an elephant with a serious eating problem. With ‘Anthems’, Pure Love have given birth to a creature that differs vastly from anything that’s come before. Having already appeared on Gallows’ sophomore slab of brutality that is ‘Grey Britain’, Frank Carter has proven that he’s capable of writing a classic album. He might have just done it again.

‘Anthems' is released 4th February on Mercury Records. Pure Love's headline tour kicks off in February 2013.

Pure Love UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri February 1st 2013 - Forum, Tunbridge Wells
Sat February 2nd 2013 - Kasbah, Coventy
Sun February 3rd 2013 - Portland Arms, Cambridge
Wed February 6th 2013 - Manchester Deaf Institute, Manchester
Thu February 7th 2013 - King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Fri February 8th 2013 - Electric Circus, Edinburgh
Sat February 9th 2013 - York Duchess, York
Sun February 10th 2013 - 53 Degrees, Preston
Tue February 12th 2013 - Bodega Social, Nottingham
Wed February 13th 2013 - Arts Centre, Norwich
Thu February 14th 2013 - XOYO, London
Mon February 18th 2013 - The Haunt, Brighton
Tue February 19th 2013 - Joiners, Southampton
Wed February 20th 2013 - Le Pub, Newport
Thu February 21st 2013 - The Croft, Bristol
Fri February 22nd 2013 - Temple Rooms, Birmingham
Sat February 23rd 2013 - Esquires, Bedford

Click Here to Compare & Buy Pure Love Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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