Love and Squalor is a perfect band to showcase for being utterly bouncy without fitting into one single genre or general sound. At times sounding like the Descendents and The Replacements with a little emo (Jimmy Eat World, Fugazi) mixed in, Love and Squalor don’t want their audience to get bored. Tracks like “Were I With You” really recall the sound of the earliest days of the Lancaster music scene, bands like the Transformers and Tax Dodge, containing a power-chord assault and an everyone-sings breakdown-into chorus. “It’s A Secret to Everybody” is probably one of the only albums out currently that can actually catch the bands’ live energy – before picking up this album, I had watched Love and Squalor twice, and this album is at least, if not more energetic than their live performance. While there are times where Jason’s raw voice can start rubbing listeners raw, such as “Apologetic”, the band knows when to mix in multi-part harmonies to bolster what could potentially be a weak part of the song.
By far thought, the best track on this disc would have to be “Don’t You Dare Say I Won”, a song that is obviously destined for something more than just being an album track. Whether it be the minimalist drums or Husker Du-esque guitar wash on the track, the simple fact is that “DYDSIW” is a song that is perfect for the long road trip, being that one track where everyone can sing along with on the car. One simply cannot listen to each track on “It’s A Secret to Everybody” – the disc, like many other of the greater albums to be created, is a complete entity – to take out one single track is to miss the context in which the entirety of the disc is couched in.
The entire disc has a crunchiness to the recording that adds a sense of personality to the entire album that would be entirely shucked if the production was over-produced. In another peak ofd this album, the magnum opus that is “Hymn of Fragility”, the track which the band calls “our most emo track”, the 5+ track ends with an increasing maelstrom of guitars and drums as Jason’s shrill “It won’t be so easy” disappears off into the distance. Overall, this disc is dark, dirty, earthy, and ultimately emotive. Love and Squalor really was able to create a work of art in this disc, capturing the essence of the band in this, their first album.
Top Tracks : Don’t You Dare Say I Won, Hymn of Fragility
Love and Squalor – It’s A Secret to Everybody / 14 Tracks / 2003 Self-Released / http://www.love-and-squalor.com / email@example.com / Reviewed 31 January 2004