Label: Able Heart Records
Released: April 28, 2009
I wonder why it is that when a band rehashes 60s garage psych or 70s hard rock, I’m so much more open to it than I am to the now-popular revisiting of 80s pop. I think the answer is two-fold. First, I lived through the 80s. I missed the 60s and was too young to appreciate the 70s, so those decades hold more mystique for me than the 80s. I have to keep this in mind when listening to anything that looks from a distance at my own formative years. More importantly though, simply playing a style from the past doesn’t cut it whether I like the original genre or not. The band has to tap into something deeper, into the music’s soul. The trouble with revisiting the 80s is that soul was kind of the exception, not the rule. Looking back fondly on something empty often produces more emptiness.
Lovers creates a catchy amalgamation of 80s pop on I Am the West. A list of its influences would be a who’s who of middle of the road 80s artists, but sadly, the album never taps into any of the darkness or creativity that was stewing just outside of the Billboard Hot 100 back then. The songwriting is solid, making for a pleasant experience, but not one that presents any challenge or anything that really sticks. I Am the West will likely have more appeal to those who didn’t live through the 80s the first time. However, by definition of what it is, the album is thin on soul and that really limits it.
If you’re curious about my rating categories, read the description.