Sound: he Von Bondies explain their sound, style and attitude best on their opening track, "This Is Our Perfect Crime": "We are the spark/We are the grit/We are the underground." Following their 2004 breakthrough album, "Pawn Shoppe Heart," Detroit's garage-rock revivalists have created an incredibly upbeat, driving album in "Love, Hate And Then There's You."
Much like fellow Detroit rockers The White Stripes, The Von Bondies opt for a traditionally minimalist style on their latest release, favoring raw, driving guitar riffs with pounding rhythm sections. Singer-songwriter Jason Stollsteimer's howling vocals complete the Von Bondies' package, a collection of poppy, confession-fueled songs that are bright yet raucous enough to please a wide array of listeners. It is this bipolar nature of the album that truly defines it - the contrast between the darkness and urgency of the lyrics and the lightness and catchiness of the tunes comes together to create a very appealing, coherent album. // 7
Lyrics: Lyrically speaking, the album is less than stellar, opting more often than not for catchy, sing-a-long-worthy songs rather than deeper, more meaningful songs. Take for example She's Dead To Me: With a length of only a minute and half, there are only three real lines just repeated over and over, but it still is one of the most enjoyable songs to sing along to.
As mentioned before, Stollsteimer's yelping, unpredictable vocals really complete the package the band brings. With audible confidence, he delivers the vocals with a noticeable swagger, projecting the sound of a true front man rather than just a singer. Listening to any of the songs, it is easy to envision him strutting around the stage for all the world to see. // 7
Overall Impression: The consistency of the album belies the turbulence the group has faced in the wake of their last release. Despite the critical acclaim and commercial successes of "Pawn Shoppe Heart" (particularly the success and widespread popularity of the single "C'mon C'mon," the tune later used as the theme song for FX's "Rescue Me"), The Von Bondies were dropped from their label, several members quit the band, and a violent and public feud began between White Stripes frontman Jack White and Stollsteimer over disagreements in production credit.
In the face of this turmoil, The Von Bondies have poured their energy and attention into creating some of their best songs yet. While "This Is Our Perfect Crime" opens the album on a high note, the songs keep the listener's attention. Tunes like "Pale Bride" and "Only To Haunt You" continue with the driving, raw rock while other songs such as "Accidents Will Happen" (eerily reminiscent of The Smiths) opt for a more pop-oriented sound.
The Von Bondies have crafted an incredibly consistent yet still wildly entertaining album in "Love, Hate And Then There's You." And for this group, consistency truly works. It's like the old saying: "Why fix what isn't broken?" // 7
- Chris McDonald (c) 2009