In recent years, bands like the White Stripes (RIP) and the Hives have kicked off a revival and reappraisal for sounds born in a garage. The Love Me Nots, who are now on a fourth album with The Demon and the Devotee, are yet another entry into the garage rock revival, though the band’s sound is certainly much more polished and clean than that of many of its brethren. The “High Fidelity Stereo” logo that adorns the top of this disc is no joke. Throughout the course of this album’s 12 songs, singer-organist Nicole Laurenne lets loose her pipes in a giddy Sharon Jones-like imitation, and there’s certainly more hooks and swagger than you can shake a garage opener at.
However, The Demon and the Devotee‘s main flaw is that it is a bit too glossy, which threatens to devolve the entire exercise into 1980’s-style cocky arena rock. The ballad “Trouble” almost sounds like a Tom Petty knockoff. “She’s Nothing Like Me” veers into ‘Til Tuesday territory. However, there are a few standouts. “I’m Gonna Be Your Girl” is a sweaty, invigorating stomper that sounds like it was ripped from the Hives’ songbook. Album closer “The Girl Lights Up” has a Byrds-like jingle jangle to it that is utterly sweet and addictive. Ultimately, The Demon and the Devotee is a bit of a mixed bag, and it would work a lot better if The Love Me Nots exchanged the varnish of production for something a lot more fuzzy and hissing. Still, there’s some quality songwriting here at times, making the album worth checking out for those who like to kick back and listen to honest-to-goodness rock in the carport.