Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Men Without Hats: "Love In the Age of War" (album review)

When an act is identified closely with a certain time period, it becomes very hard to separate them from that time and place.  That makes it very difficult to deal with new material within a current context.

That's definitely the case with Men Without Hats and their forthcoming album Love In the Age of War (out May 22nd).

The band's style really hasn't changed all that much over the years.  The fidelity is sharper, and the production values are better, but the synth-pop sound of songs like "Devil Come Around" will make you think you were sucked into a time warp and plopped back in 1982.

The fast-paced beat of "Head Above Water" will get you moving. "The Girl With the Silicon Eyes" is a bizarre concept, but a compelling track.  If you ever wondered what David Byrne would sound like singing "Temple Of Love", then you're in luck with "Everybody Knows".

The songs tend to be catchy as you are hearing them, but they have little staying power.  You won't be humming these tunes in the shower any time soon.

The band have trouble sustaining your longing for nostalgia however.  "Your Beautiful Heart" comes across as schlocky, while "Close To the Sun" is so slow it's actually painful to listen to.

With a little trimming Love In the Age of War would've made a fairly entertaining EP.  As a full length though, you'll find yourself reaching for the 'Skip' button more than once.

Best tracks: "This War", "Head Above Water"

Track listing for Love In the Age of War:
  • Devil Come Round
  • Head Above Water
  • Everybody Knows
  • The Girl With the Silicone Eyes
  • This War (Intro)
  • This War
  • Your Beautiful Heart
  • Live and Learn
  • Close To the Sun
  • Love's Epiphany
  • Love In the Age of War


Unknown said...

I had no idea they were even still together!

Anonymous said...

Now that you have had time to absorb and listen to the new album a few more times, do you think you can do a new review, as this album is definetly worthy of a higher score than you gave.It has been getting rave reviews from all corners, and it is definitely a great record. Where can you listen to an album today that has at least 6 songs that could be radio hits? Not many new bands can conquer this, let alone bands that have been around for 30+ years.