Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Melodic-emotional pop abounds! A perennial favorite of teenage boys, it compresses melancholy and gentle beauty into power chords and cymbal crashes. Lovedrug provides a textbook example of this genre with its full-length debut Pretend You're Alive. Even the title itself makes me think of the gloom of high school, populated with teenagers in button-down shirts and faded corduroys reveling in the misery of adolescence. This four-piece band from Ohio writes driving, brooding songs about love and darkness, sung in the traditional vaguely whiny fashion that often typifies emo.

{As an aside: ever notice how many emo bands are from the Midwest? After a number of visits to Missouri as a child, I do not think this is a coincidence.}

It's not that Pretend You're Alive isn't good, per se. In fact, the album features well-constructed and ably-executed songs throughout. My main issue is that it's too textbook. The addition of piano provides a welcome change, but for the most part, I found the songs uninspiring and, frankly, a bit tired. At a number of points, I could almost picture the music video — guy singing in car of lost love whilst driving through small dusty town, interspersed with shots of said lost love (as portrayed by the latest and greatest teen idol — Lindsey Lohan or Jessica Simpson, perhaps) and perhaps a few clips of the other band members playing their instruments in wildly inappropriate locales (e.g. drum kit set up at gas station, bassist walking down the sidewalk past old soda fountain playing, etc). Pretend You're Alive falls short because it lacks that spark of ingenuity, that je ne sais quoi that makes you play a record over again and again. As such, it's good but not great — a solid 6 for Team Emo 2004.