Given that my first introduction to the music of The Computers was a brutal, rip-roaring track called Lovers Lovers Lovers on a New Heavy Sounds compilation album, I was somewhat surprised by the sounds coming from their second full length album Love Triangles, Hate Squares. Where Lovers Lovers Lovers delivered a full throttle assault in the same vein as a band like The Bronx, with screamed vocals and a gravelly, punk rock guitar tone, the music on Love Triangles, Hate Squares has a much more refined vintage quality, taking in influences like The Hives. I was at first taken aback by the new, smooth and radio friendly direction the band had gone in, but if you can get used to it and accept it, The Computers have actually made a fantastic album.
The album kicks off with Bring Me the Head of a Hipster, which more or less tumbles out of the speakers in a haphazard rockabilly stampede. The vocals are smooth and there is a piano in the mix, but you get the feeling this thing could come off the rails at any moment. Rather than going soft and losing any spirit, it is clear that The Computers are still mad for it.
The opening track seems to act almost as a bridge from their old sound to the new as what follows with the title track is an incredibly poppy and accessible tune with riffs pinched from the Rolling Stones and yet another undeniably huge chorus. Next up is Mr. Saturday Night, which cranks the pop dial all the way round to eleven. It is not a million miles from some of The Gaslight Anthem's latest work and even adds a keyboard solo and a joyous stomping coda.
Elsewhere on the album is the almost gospel rock of C.R.U.E.L. and the rockabilly Selina Chinese which comes a little too close to being Johnny B. Goode. Disco Sucks comes closest to replicating their old sound with those Bronx-esque vocals. The album closes with Single Beds which calls to mind Brutal Love from the last Green Day album. It is a slow and passionate ending to an accomplished album.
There is no denying that Love Triangles, Hate Squares is a definite, shameless grab at the mainstream, and fans of The Computers' previous work might feel somewhat alienated by the softening of the sound. If you give it a go, however, it is clear that the band have lost none of their fire at all and have indeed succeeded in expanding their sound.
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