Long ago, like 2005, the whole Bay Area fell into the open legs of The Lovemakers. Interscope signed them, the single “Prepare For The Fight” was on everyone’s lips, and hips, and the band’s brace of hotties, we’re-so-not together Lisa Light & Scott Blonde, consistently ground themselves and everyone else into so much sexual pulp at their shows. I went to one and felt like I needed to wash my glasses after, and I don’t even wear glasses. Times Of Romance, their debut record, may have been impeded by some indifferent drumming but it could still take you out for a spin. It sounded sort of like Duran Duran covered by a bunch of gaysted chicks all hopped up on gin and bubblegum. That was great and everything. Then Clap Your Hands Say Yeah came out and everyone promptly forgot the Lovemakers.
They’ve since quit Interscope in an effort to curtail that blazing trajectory, giving us instead little EPs like this one, half audio/half video, half fear/half loafing. Make no mistake, The Lovemakers still have their predilection for all the campy stuff like the Waitresses and Dee-Lite, but Misery Loves Company is hella bitter. Where Times Of Romance was all about shaking it, Misery Loves Company is all about shaking it off. Light and blonde (I swear if I keep saying it Steve Buscemi’s gonna show up) Light & Blonde appear, weirdly, to be helping each other thru all the wiggy dynamics of being ex-lovers. All the contempt may be hidden under shimmery curtains of candy guitar but you can hear Light, plain as day, going “your tears could fill up this room/ and still have nothing to say” on the title track or Blonde countering with ‘if i don’t get some now we’re through’ on “Whine & Dine.”
All five songs on Misery were recorded more or less in one take. “Misery Loves Company” runs Light’s vocal thru the shredder between some Edge-like jangle and a Technique-style dance break. “Whine & Dine” is slightly funkier, also slightly less good, though it does approximate the devil’s-food-cake good time of “Shake That Ass” from the first record. The middle track, “Naturally Lonely,” finds Light in full-bore “Live To Tell” mode, complete with strings and even a “When Doves Cry” guitar moment. “If i could make one heart unbreak/ I’d still find heartbreak” Light says—mind you, this is allegedly about a deceased pet, but the song’s tensions are insurmountable. “We Already Said Goodbye” revives the rueful harmonies that were some of the highlights of Times Of Romance. But the best song is the six-minute closer, “Save Me,” written by Blonde as a sort of general kiss off to, among other persons places and things, Interscope: “I’ve been lost for a long time now/ I’ve been crossed and lied to.” Blonde’s vocal even sounds lost, bracketed as it is by some unrequited guitar crunch that’s both less sanitary and more thrilling than anything the band has done to this point.
The Killers – Hot Fuss
The Waitresses – I Could Rule The World If I Could Only Get The Parts
Stereo Total – Discotheque