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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