Sound: Theories of Dr.Lovelock is the debut album from Bristol based UK Rock outfit The Chemists. I first heard these guys supporting Feeder on tour in 2008, and my god they were good, a heady mix of thumping guitar riffs and lyrics from the gravel laced voice of lead singer Johnny Benn. However, this review is about the album so on to that. Theories of Dr.Lovelocks first track is an Intro, which I must admit always worries me, especially when it is only 30 odd seconds long, a pointless filler is always what springs to mind, one that I will skip every-time. So you can imagine my surprise when I was greeted with the voice of actor Richard E Grant speaking thirty seconds worth of following song 'This City'. Sounds strange I know but it really works so well and sets up the album wonderfully as Richard finishes and 'This City' kicks in which is the perfect starting song with drums kicking in before the guitar riffs smash their way through instantly grabbing your attention. This sort of unconventional start shows their obvious support for the humble Compact Disc which is slowly getting crushed by the heartlessness of digital music by rewarding your CD loving ears to an intro to remember, not an intro you'll play on it's own but one you will never skip at the start of the album.
On to the rest of the album and it barely misses a beat (excuse the musical pun) as the powerful riffs and catchy beats keep you nodding your head and singing along throughout. You can spot the bands obvious love of Choruses from a mile off as nearly every song is leading you into the crashing cacophony of sound in the chorus, this is most prevalent in 'Radio Booth' which almost has a feel of menace as it leads up to the chorus which quite simply blows you away and pins you down with a completely unsubtle mix of rhythm and lead guitar from Sam James and Dave Betts, bass from Wayne Jones (Whose day job involves clearing up corpses, nice), drums from Matt Albon and vocals from Johnny Benn. Simple yet highly effective. The album does hiccup once with the song 'Waiting' which quite simply never gets started. Judging by the rest of the album I was waiting for an explosion of music to kick in at some point and it just never comes and stays at the same slowed down tempo which breaks the flow slightly. However everything else makes up for this, and I haven't even talked about their cover track yet. More on that later. // 8
Lyrics: On to the lyrics and of course the vocalist. The best way I can describe him is Kelly Jones from Stereophonics but a lot happier and livelier, he's got that gravelly voice that compliments the rough, no nonsense sound coming from the instruments wonderfully but also delivers the words with a passion for the music that it's hard to find in most of the generic rent-a-rock-bands you hear on the radio that come and go quicker than you can forget about their awful songs. You can tell this passion has come straight from the stage and I can vouch for that having seen them a few times and seeing how involved and in to the music he gets. The lyrics are also a wonderful mix of upbeat and cheeky yet thoughtful. 'A Love Like No One Else' is a beautifully written love song that makes you think with lyrics such as 'All the loveless creatures who never believed in sacrifice' whilst 'Milk & Honey' has a feeling to it that can only best be described by the fact that Howard Marks is in the music video (look him up). A special mention should also go to 'A Bit of Education' which starts of sounding like a slow tempo acoustic tracks and explodes into a foot stomping and shouty (thats in a good way by the way) anthem which will make you want to go and see them live just to experience it. Now on to their cover song which anyone who has seen them live or checked out on MySpace will know is a cracker. Britney Spears is an unlikely candidate for a rock band to cover but 'Toxic' is one that many bands have tried and failed at in the past. Here is the exception, The Chemists take this classic pop song and make it their own pounding rock tune which will instantly put a smile on your face. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall this album is a fantastic debut from a band that has had a criminally low amount of exposure. Stand out tracks are definitely 'Radio Booth', 'A Love Like No One Else', 'A Bit of Education' and of course 'Toxic'. The album keeps up a relentless tempo throughout almost all of it 12 tracks (Intro and Outro not included there) The only slight hiccups is 'Waiting' which I mentioned earlier and the Outro which seems a bit random and doesn't seem to serve any purpose like the Intro does aside from perhaps fool you into thinking it is the end of the album when actually 'Toxic' appears after it (Toxic isn't actually listed but if you've read this you'll know it's on the end now). This band deserves recognition and the only problem I can see is how on earth they can follow such a superb debut. Go and check them out now. // 9