Featuring some ex-members of Operation Ivy and Common Rider, Classics of Love play an upbeat brand of punk. There are many catchy, melodic hooks, but the gritty voice keeps this sounding raw and less in the poppy neighborhood. The low gain guitar works here and fits into the overall sound pretty well. With shiny mid range, the bass tone really makes an appearance. The band presents some verse/chorus song formatting, but manages to keep things fast moving and interesting.
The record opens with "What A Shame" and it had me thinking of Operation Ivy quite a bit. The chorus brings us a bit of a British punk feel though, and the way the two parts are put together is quite seamless. It wasn't long before "Castle In The Sky" brought that ska upstroke guitar that I typically can't stand. Here it's used a bit more subtly and therefore doesn't come off quite as irritating as I've heard other bands execute this. You'll see this again on the song "Bandstand".
Mid tempo tracks like "Gun Show" are done with some finesse. The dual-vocal chorus and dark sounding chord progression made this the stand out track for me. There's also a great chorus extension featuring just drums and guitar, an age old technique, but done very well here. "Moving Pictures" shows the band slowing things down. The track stands on it's own pretty well, but does seem somewhat out of place. The chorus maintains the grit pretty well though and I suppose this track can work as the "take a breather from the fast stuff" interlude.
Just after the breather, the band jumps back on full force. "It Will Not Be Moved" has a bass opening with is reminiscent of Lifetime's "Danuerysm" and blasts off with full force speed. Tracks like "Last Strike" and "Dissolve" keep the fast and urgent pace a long lasting presence on this record. Things close up with the fast and melodic "We Need A Change".
So, if you're finding anything by Fat Wreck Chords to be annoying poppy to your eyes, check out Classics of Love to provide the gritty, raw version of great melodic punk.
Get it here.