Hurricane #1: Find What You Love and Let It Kill You
Alex Lowe's resurrected version of Hurricane #1 has recorded an album that you just can't help but admire.
Hurricane #1 started as Ride guitarist Andy Bell's thing. When the seminal shoegaze band went their separate ways in the mid-'90s, Bell teamed up with singer-songwriter Alex Lowe to form a band that has, for better or worse, gone down in Britpop history as brief and moderately successful side project thanks to their straightforward less gaze/more pop approach. Now, Hurricane #1 is Alex Lowe's thing. After tending to a solo career and undergoing treatments for cancer, Lowe has assembled a whole new Hurricane #1 lineup with himself as the only original member. With brothers Carlo and Lucas Mariani on guitar and bass and Chris Campbell on drums, the resurrected name records 11 new originals written during Lowe's chemotherapy period and named it Find What You Love and Let It Kill You.
I know what you're thinking and, no, it's not a downer. Find What You Love and Let It Kill You is the direct opposite, a deliberate choice made by Lowe. Not wishing to write songs that mirrored his experiences with his illness, Alex Lowe went and wrote songs with names like "Think of the Sunshine", "Leave It All Behind", "Coyote Ahoy", and "The Best Is Yet to Come". There's barely a minor guitar chord that registers anything resembling a dark cloud and even the slower tempo numbers come their own built-in sun rays. The bells and whistles of modern pop production are few and the acres-wide choruses are plentiful. The spring in Campbell's beats and the spry chimes from Lowe's and Mariani's guitars transport the listener back in time to a period where CDs were being sold by the billions and people gladly paid cash to hear the sound of the Gallagher brothers fighting with one another.
One song that achieves this end with gusto is the single "Think of the Sunshine", the one track to actually feature founding member Andy Bell (sixty seconds worth of backwards guitar towards the end of the track, in case you were curious). Everything about the song screams British Invasion. It's got the brisk waltz tempo, descending chords from major to relative minor, a big hook melody, and a chorus that ups the dynamics like a hammer striking a nail. The other ten songs achieve a similar spirit albeit with subtler means. "Has It Begun (Imitating Life)", for instance, trades the huge guitar sound in for some soft back porch twang. "Feel Me Now" and "Coyote Ahoy" may be boilerplate psychedelia, but it certainly beats badly-knit paisley. Average tracks like "Round in Circles" (which is an apt name, now that I think about it) are nicely offset by more rousing ones like the "Crash" (another apt name!), the closest that this Hurricane #1 gets to trying to break your neck.
Though Lowe's lyrics tend to wander into meaninglessness ("The best is yet to come / I know what you've done"), it's clear that Find What You Love and Let It Kill You is meant to be more therapeutic than artistic. In the album's press release Lowe pleads for us to not analyze his songs too closely and to "Think happiness when you listen to it!" Hey, fair enough. If cancer picked a fight with him and lost, then Lowe deserves all the success he can get. Hurricane #1 may have not had an album in 16 years, but Find What You Love and Let It Kill You is pretty much the work of a whole new band. In a just world, this album can market itself no problem.