The Loveless – “Meet The Loveless” Album Review26th January 2024
“Sometimes I feel I’ve got to run away; I’ve got to get away” …the iconic opening lines of “Tainted Love”. Despite being a Mowtown-influenced soulful, jazzy piece originally recorded by GLORIA JONES in 1964, you are more than likely familiar with two covers in particular. On one hand there’s MARILYN MANSON, who, for all of his absinthe fuelled, anti-establishmentarianism driven charm, tends to butcher the ever-loving fuck out of the songs he covers through his lack of ability to like, sing. An originator, a controversial artist and hugely successful, that’s undeniable, but he does for singing what cheese graters do for shaving your balls. I mean it’ll get the job done to a degree but it ain’t pretty.
On the other hand, there’s SOFT CELL. A lot of people mistakenly believe that their version of “Tainted Love” is the original, which is testament to how well they turned the song into a light, synth-rich, 80’s pop anthem, and we must thank MARC ALMOND for that. Marc, who was joined by David Ball didn’t garner much success off the bat, with early singles not charting, but their popularity amongst the 1980’s nightclub and disco scenes persuaded their label to give them another shot at a single, they chose “Tainted Love”, and the rest was history.
While we all love a spot of new wave, however, Marc is an artist at the end of the day, has vast influences, interests and ideas, and you can’t pigeonhole yourself forever. This is where today’s band comes in; let’s talk about THE LOVELESS. Marc felt HE had to run away from the synth-pop trappings, and sired this band with long-time guitarist Neil X, and has utilised IGGY POP’s touring rhythm section (Mat Hector and Ben Ellis) as well as keyboardist James Beaumont, to go back to his roots, having grown up hearing Mowtown, and classic-laced garage glam rock. Featuring a selection of covers and some original pieces, let’s get acquainted, as we “Meet The Loveless”.
We open with original track “Wild In The Streets” and we’re met with this wonderfully fuzzy, raw piece of punk-inspired garage rock. Relentless percussion and simplistic but energetic guitars guide the track with effectively incorporated saxophone fills, that really add a touch of class to their dive-bar aesthetic, and it reeks of early TURBONEGRO at times, with a hint of glam, which is frankly fantastic.
More original music comes courtesy of “Nothing At All” which houses more of a jovial, almost country-blues effort, with an early sense of poppy rock ‘n’ roll, akin to when the likes of THE MONKEES were in their prime. Though despite its joviality, it’s very much a case of being done with a significant other lyrically. I mean he really couldn’t make it any clearer let’s be honest? He’s moved on, and quite frankly he couldn’t sound happier, resulting in an enjoyable albeit oxymoronic listen. “I’ve nothing in my heart, nothing left to give you, so say goodbye before I lose the will to live too” …Jesus Marc, chill!
The bulk of the album though is comprised of covers, and there are a couple of notable inclusions here, such as “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” by THE KINKS. It’s given a new lease of life with more a driving sense of purpose in the instrumentation. It’s livelier, with a touch more attitude and it really suits the track. “Dark Side” by SHADOWS OF THE KNIGHT retains its softly crooned sentiments of yearning, while adding more of a modern sense of production, aided by haunting backing vocals for a truly touching track.
Glen Matlock of SEX PISTOLS fame joins in for BO DIDDLEY’s “Pills” for an upbeat little rocking number, while they embrace the innuendo on SMOKEY’s “Hot, Hard & Ready”. The piano-led, up-tempo, jazz-inspired piece incorporates a bouncy guitar rhythm and subtle electronic elements for a highly sexualised track, and it sounds like something that’d befit the soundtrack to something like “Grease”.
Ultimately, if you see the name Marc Almond and go into this album expecting a fresh dose of synth-pop ballads and catchy electronic entertainment you’re in for a surprise, but it must be said, Marc’s taken a variety of bluesy, classic rock ‘n’ roll influences here and has created a proper garage band album. OK it’s quite polished compared to a lot of the 60’s and 70’s cuts they’ve reimagined. but it retains a certain sense of authenticity that you’d only truly appreciate back in the day, dancing in your bedroom while you spin original vinyl on your record player. Not for everyone, but those of you who are nostalgic for classic, jazz-infused blues rock, with a touch of glam, should surely check this out for a trip down memory lane. Far from loveless, Marc and the band perform these tracks out of love for rock ‘n’ roll’s formative years, and it should certainly inspire younger audiences to do a little digging and discover some new old songs. The Loveless; it was a pleasure to meet you.
Album Score: 7/10