CD Review: The Von Bondies "Love, Hate and Then There’s You"

The Von Bondies

Love, Hate and Then There’s You

(Majordomo/Shout Factory)

Thrust into the limelight a few years ago after Jack White punched out lead singer Jason Stollsteimer, The Von Bondies' new release, Love, Hate and Then There’s You, is a straightforward, intense-yet-safe alt rock record that might allow listeners to actually forget the brawl and focus on the band’s music. But despite strong driving drum beats designed to keep heads bobbing and some of the stickiest riffs and choruses I have heard lately, the record doesn't tread any new ground and could easily be mistaken for the latest by any number of other like-sounding bands. The Von Bondies enlisted Butch Walker (Hot Hot Heat, Avril Lavigne, Fall Out Boy, The Donnas) to produce three of the tracks, and his influence is easy to hear, like in “Pale Bride” (the "single"), which is catchy, though it blends in with the other tracks and its riffy bridge comes off like a lazy, last minute addition. “The Chancer” has a frantic intro that segues perfectly into the female-voiced "Hey now, hey now/take it to the other side” chorus, but other than this and “21st Birthday,” the band doesn’t go out on a line very much. Overall, the songs are infectious, but way too safe to make me want to return to the album often. Otherwise, it’s a good rock record for the MySpace generation and fans of Kings of Leon, Franz Ferdinand and Marvelous 3.

—Ivan Peña

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