Chester Kamen & The Loves - 'Americanized'

JG Updated
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An energetic collection of tunes which are almost impossible not to tap your feet to.

Chester Kamen is a guitar player of some pedigree, having clocked up sessions for household names like Paul McCartney, Madonna, Dave Gimour, Roger Waters, Bob Geldof and many others, including being one of two guitar players for Bryan Ferry at Live Aid (the other, incidentally, was the aforementioned Gilmour).

His band The Loves first appeared in 2016 with a self titled original record and they are back again in 2020 with their fifth effort 'Americanized'. The group consists of Kamen on guitar and vocals, Michael Cahill on lead vocals and guitar, Sam Harley on bass and drummer Steve Monti, who also serves as co-producer. Monti himself boasts an impressive resumé, having worked with the likes of Gary Numan, Jesus And The Mary Chain and Wilko Johnson.

Pedigree as musicians is all well and good, but how do they fare as songwriters? The answer, fortunately, is rather well, as 'King Of What Remains' bounces out of the speakers with infectious energy. The title track follows suit with a staccato riff and a vocal from Cahill that put me in mind of Damon Albarn. 'Do What Your Mama Told You' blends Indie Rock with a Sixties guitar vibe not a million miles from The Who's 'I Can't Explain', while 'Fine Lines' see the guitar riffing trading off against a throbbing bass line.

'Don't Take It Easy' has some great jangly guitar work while 'Dream Heart' brings in a touch of Reggae to change things up. The theme of upbeat songs continues throughout, with the likes of 'No Place Like Home' before there is an eventual slowing of the pace with the more melancholy 'Almost Done'. This provides short respite before giving way to the frantic 'It Gets Harder' which also had a touch of Reggae to boot. The impressive 'Show Me' sounds like something you could imagine being played on a car advert as some sleek automobile headers along mountain roads, while 'That Kind Of Love' is a high quality slow burner.

Closing with 'Loving You', over the course of just short of an hour, The Loves delivery an energetic collection of tunes which are almost impossible not to tap your feet to. To be completely honest, this is more Indie and Pop infused than a lot of the material I'm usually sent to review and I found Cahill's voice to be an acquired taste, but there is an undeniable charm and enthusiasm about the material. It's a bit different, but not in a bad way!

James Gaden

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