Loveland Duren and The Breakup Society

Loveland Duren “Bloody Cupid”
This is the eclectic combination of musicians Vicki Loveland and Van Duren. Starting with “Crash Landing” it features a cool bass line, Loveland’s soaring vocal (similar to Heart’s Ann Wilson) and guitarist Jim Duckworth shredding solo. Next track is more melodic, “Lines in The Sand” has both Van and Vicki in a duet with a memorable chorus and snappy pop hook. “Now Will Do” has more folk elements, with violin and mandolin featured as a country tune.

You really can’t pigeon hole this LP in one genre, but I’m gonna focus on the more pop oriented tunes, so I recommend “Birthmarks,” the romantic “There Goes The Floor” and the sobering “Losing My Mean Streak.” The soulful rock of “Sins Of The Father” is a highlight of Loveland’s moving vocal, and the soft-shoe “Kiss Me Slowly” is another jazz tune with Van Duren’s easy going lead. Like a fine wine, you’ll want to sip in this albums variety and charm.

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The Breakup Society “So Much Unhappiness. So Little Time…”
This passed under my radar early this year, but I wanted to call it out as a great soundtrack for life’s disappointments. Opening with the title track, it sets the stage with the words of Ed Masley “it’s a struggle making lemonade, when life gives you limes.” The band skillfully navigates the Beatle influenced “Invitation to Quit” and Masley approaches it with his Midwestern heart on his sleeve. Each tune is an impressive blend of The Kinks and Paul Westerberg in his prime, with no filler.

The album follows the sad losers in Masley’s world, from the dude waiting for “The Next Reunion” to impress old classmates to the old groupie trying to meet the band in “Another Day in The Life.” Even the upbeat “Upward Spiral” where the narrator sees the path out of the pity party,  he “can’t seem to wrap his head around it.” The standout here is the rocking power pop gem “Here Comes Floyd.”  And Masley isn’t quite like the characters he sings about, on “Mary Shelly” where he “appears to be the fool he plays in each song” he’s really not, just like “Shelly wasn’t Frankenstein”. The dense guitar psychedelics close out “She Doesn’t Cross Against The Light” like an Oasis finale, and overall its excellent album. I hope Masley doesn’t take another five years for the next one.

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