Love/Hate “Before The Blackout”
Love/Hate are one of those bands that never quite got the success or acclaim that they truly deserved. They were incorrectly lumped in with the LA Hair Metal scene, but were far more innovative and original than their supposed peers. This album is a collection of early demos. As was always the case with this band, it comes with some controversy. The release hasn’t been supported by all the band’s members. However, for lovers of the band, it’s a great opportunity to hear how the band and their sound developed.
If we’re honest, some of the tracks are a bit of a shock. Opening number “Date With Fate” and songs like “I’ve Got A Dream” and “My Girl” actually have a very eighties feel. Indeed, we’re talking an almost rough Duran Duran!! They’re very un Love/Hate, but whilst the style is different they’re still really good. Many of the songs also have a darker edge. That’s perhaps not so surprising, as the band always mixed their good time, beer drinking image with a darker musical side. Songs like “Extreme and “Reincarnated” owe more to Depeche Mode or even The Sisters Of Mercy than punk rock. These songs make you feel like you’re discovering a totally different band.
There is, however, also plenty that will be of great interest to fans of the established band that was Love/Hate. When you hear tracks like “Goodship Dollyrock” you’re getting an early taster of songs that will eventually emerge as brilliant classics like “Why Do They Call It Dope”, “She’s An Angel”. and “Tranquilliser”. Interestingly, “Skid Row Gypsy” is a song that sounds like another misjudged band, Enuff Z’ Nuff during their darker ‘Tweaked’ period. It’s a glimpse of Love/Hate’s recognition of the need for a good melody.
It’s not until you get to the brilliant, LA rocker of “Soul House” that you find a song that really matches the sound that the band would settle on when they recorded their awesome “Blackout In The Red Room” album. Suddenly, with “Outside”, you realise that one of the big differences is the sound of Jizzy Pearl’s voice. It’s only on that track, along with “Gypsy Love” and “Love Burns”, that he really opens his lungs and we get the raspy true sound of Jizzy.
The album then actually rounds off with early demos of two classic Love/Hate songs, “Angel” and “Dope”. These are great early versions which have the same charm of the ones we already know and love.
It’s kind of ironic that this is very much a release you will either love or hate! Some fans will hate it, as it sounds so different to the band they know. However, those who are prepared to approach it with the right attitude, ie the chance to hear a group of young guys trying to find their own sound, will love it. Many of the songs sound like a totally different band. At the end of the day, if all it does is make you dig out those brilliant Love/Hate albums from their hey day, then it’s done a great job.