The Gunshy

Theres No Love In This War

by Jason MacNeil

9 October 2007

 

There’s No Love in This War was inspired and based on 17 letters that Matt Arbogast’s grandfather wrote to his then-girlfriend in the Second World War. However, given the nature of the world—and the universal qualities of these songs—the album could have been written about today’s struggles. The Gunshy title the songs on this effort after the dates in which the letters were written (as well as giving them a second name). On opening number, “May 14, 1943/The Khaki-Whacky Girls”, Arbogast sounds like a cross between Tom Waits and Bob Dylan with this cozy, folksy number. It’s this formula that Arbogast nails repeatedly, especially on the softer but prettier “August 13, 1943/Eddie Was a Good Friend of Mine” and the equally tender “October 28, 1943/Julie, I’m Not Ready To Die”. Things move into a different tone and tempo with the rapid “December 18, 1943” and the memorable gem “December 26, 1943/Humphrey Bogart & His Lady”. Arbogast manages to make each song shine with a rudimentary arrangement during the troubadour-like “June 11, 1944/Pretty in the Red & White Dress” or with a rocky “June 22, 1944/I Shot a Man”. Another keeper is the gorgeous “September 6, 1945/There’s No Love in This War”. Arbogast does what he does best yet again with this charming, thoughtful and reflective album.

There's No Love in This War

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