They say love is dead, but according to '68 love is ain't dead. From the land of the brave and free (Atlanta, Georgia), the musical duo delivers a small appetizer in the form of a semi-surprise EP. Following up on the 2017 record Two Parts Viper, former The Chariot frontman Josh Scogin this time employs the young Nikko Yamada as the band's new drummer. Their bluesy punk rock drew the attention of Alice In Chains and Foo Fighters producer Nick Raskulinecz, with whom the duo recorded a handful of tracks amidst this horrible period we call quarantine time.
If one were to describe '68's style it would be... "weird". The band has always been known for being experimental to the bone, and Love Is Ain't Dead ain't different. If you listened to 'Bad Bad Lambo', the first single that made its release earlier this week, you will have heard the heavy distortions, manipulations and sonic destructions. It's a strong stance against the overproduced versions of rock you hear on the radio, but the bold experimental sounds won't be everyone's cup of tea. For a bunch of solid riffs and speedy drum parts, 'The Lesser Of Two Upheavals' is where you want to be. It's some pure and raw punk rock'n'roll, most reminiscent of the works you'd find on the band's previous records.
The third track on this EP is a surprising cover of David Essex's 'Rock On', a glam rock song originally released in 1973 that many kids these days probably haven't heard of yet. If you haven't - fret not, the '68 version is the one you should be listening to instead. With a heavy distorted down-pitched guitar substituting for the bass part, the duo makes the song their own in an exciting fashion. The closing tune 'Nervous Passenger' feels a bit long-winding and a letdown compared to the earlier tracks of this short EP. The repeating passages that go on for about 4 minutes never truly reach a peak and thus the EP ends on a bit of a dud.
'68 is a band that finds its strength in their explosive and abrasive live performances. Locking a band like this up in a recording studio might lead to something spectacular, or you might miss out on the charm. The duo certainly tries, but every now and then they seem to fall into the latter category. Love Is Ain't Dead certainly isn't made for the masses, but at least it's something to keep the folks warm until the next one.
Love Is Ain't Dead is released September 4th Cooking Vinyl. Pre-order the EP here.