Lovedrug is frustrating to a critic, because they’re really hard to categorize. They can wear the emo-rock mask as well as the Brit-born Coldplay-spawn personae with equal aplomb. Frontman Michael Shepard’s voice is a quivering tenor that some casual listeners can either take or leave, but the music is nothing to split opinions on—it’s strong no matter who they’re sounding like in any given song. This tour EP and forthcoming album teaser truly jumps all over the place: “American Swimming Lesson” sounds ripe for Trent Reznor to tinker with (or cover), and “Ghost By Your Side” sounds like Coldplay at their most rollicking (aka their least X&Y). Though the album teasers are delicious, the EP-only stuff is ballsy: Lovedrug somehow gets the nerve to cover Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box”, and—against all solid logic—somehow manage to invert the original by redressing it as a Tori Amos-styled piano ballad while retaining every ounce of catharsis. Even the too-long closer “The Praxter” manages to walk a tightrope between Blood Brothers-infected cabaret rock and their own sense of tidal-wave guitar choruses. Though this teaser may just be foreplay for the upcoming full-length, never has foreplay felt so good.
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