Love In The Age Of War by Men Without Hats (Cobraside Records)
The Safety Dance was a gigantic hit for Men Without Hats in 1982, forever cementing their status as one of the most innovative of the synth pop / new wave brigade of bands of that time period. Chart success would arrive again in 1987 with the wondrously quirky Pop Goes The World, a tune currently featured on an equally whimsical Tide Detergent commercial. Now just thirty years after their breakthrough album The Rhythm Of Youth, the Canadian collective returns with their seventh official magnum opus entitled Love In The Age Of The War. While their previous 2003 effort No Hats Beyond This Point was primal in its delivery, Love In The Age Of War is a dazzling collage of sound that compares exceeding well to the biggest and brightest of the Men Without Hats repertoire. Much like Move Like This, the stunning comeback album from The Cars unleashed last year, Love In The Age Of War is as timeless as anything Men Without Hats has conceived in the past. A definite triumph to be sure!
The disc kicks off with a wildly unpredictable beginning, with the song Devil Come Round cleverly mixing the techno pop beats with vocalists Ivan Doroschuk’s almost bluesy delivery. Head Above Water follows, the first single that will jangle within your tainted brain long after the disc spins to its conclusion.
Everyone Knows is classic, vibrant Men Without Hats at their most cheeky and infectious, with a rambunctious chorus and shimmering melodies weaving throughout rendering this one a standout. An encounter with The Girl With The Silicon Eyes follows, with playful lyrics, too cool female co-vocals, and a driving beat that will make you want to dance it up in this 21st Century and beyond.
This War is a raging knockout, with Ivan Doroschuk delivering one of the most animated, striking vocal deliveries of his illustrious career. Your Beautiful Heart is a sweet and tender love song set to an almost disco like melody. Then Live And Learn knocks you back into the swirling keyboard atmosphere, embellished by some fairly worldly lyrics.
Close To The Sun is a lovely ballad that will have fans waving their lighters in the air when performed live. Love’s Epiphany continues on with the soaring synth pop radiance. And then closing out the album is the highly memorable note is title cut Love In The Age Of War, with Ivan Doroschuk half singing / half rapping the crafty lyrics with a keen sense of irony and urgency.
Love In The Age Is War is vintage Men Without Hats coming back to ultra-vivid life in 2012 – with several of the songs stacking up well to the radio hits of the past. Older fans are sure to launch themselves into the stratosphere when they hear this one. Expect a lot of love to arrive from newer converts as well. An enchanting work that pop fans will want to revisit time and again.
Produced with skilled precision by Dave “Rave” Ogilvie (Skinny Puppy, Marilyn Manson), Love In The Age of War features the aforementioned Ivan Dorschuk on voice & electronics, his brother Colin Doroschuk on vocals, as well as Lou Dawson on vocals & live keyboards, and James Love on guitars.
(Review by Kenneth Morton)