Part one: Love the awful

Making their major label debut on Island Records, St. Louis-based power pop group Ludo are releasing You’re Awful, I Love You on Feb. 26.

The album is Ludo’s second full-length effort, following up their 2003 self-titled album and a rock opera EP titled You’re Awful, I Love You. Even though You’re Awful is coming out nearly five years after their debut, Ludo have, through relentless touring, gained acclaim and a good following outside the Midwest.

You’re Awful starts out with three tremendous songs that provide a powerful kick off to the album. The opener and first single, "Love Me Dead," is a driving song that feels like a drunken conversation in a bar over a "love like cancer."

This leads into "Drunken Lament" which rides on those same lines but brings a nice sing-along chorus with it. The third song, "Please," is a classic power pop love ballad, but the title turns into more of a plea to keep listening.

The middle of the album blends a list of mechanical power pop standards that seem to force any special interest from the listener. However, for the true power pop fan, the middle tracks may be the gems on the album that really round out the release and complete it.

The final track of You’re Awful, "In Space," is a great track. It reels the listener back in. It provides a sense of completion to what becomes a pretty great album. That and there is a hidden track at the end of "In Space" that is an acoustic song showcasing the raw talent of vocalist/guitarist Andrew Volpe.

Also a talent of Volpe is the not-to-be-missed "fake facts" collection he’s contributed to the band’s Web site.

Though You’re Awful isn’t looking to be a contender for album of the year on anyone’s 2008 lists, it is a power pop gem that should not be looked over by pop rock or power pop enthusiasts alike. Its driving guitars and swinging keyboard melodies tie up Ludo’s songs into nice little packages waiting to be unwrapped.

The title, You’re Awful, I Love You, is a pretty apt description of how the average listener will come out feeling about Ludo’s new release.

Two more reviews
By Greg Wilcox

Artist: Carl Platou
Album: Frozen Eve
2 stars

Though Carl Platou manages to give a sincere and personalized effort on his album Frozen Eye, this is not enough. His slurry, awkward voice is hard to get past, as it is reminiscent of a stereotypical grandpa whose heyday has long since passed. Clearly influenced by Bob Dylan, you might recommend Carl Platou’s album to your friend who is into that whole “totally-chill, mellow singer-songwriter thing,” a genre that has been over-killed since Dylan’s time. The album is peaceful and beautiful at parts, but is mostly painfully melodramatic.

Artist: Eric Hutchinson
Album: Sounds Like This
1 1/2 stars

To his credit, Eric Hutchinson’s album Sounds Like This shows good radio songwriting skills – but it is also very cute and campy. This CD could find a home in a collection of the safe, Abercrombie-rock genre that also houses the likes of Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and maybe even Michael Buble. Basically, this is the kind of music you expect to hear at a party, played with clean mediocrity by some dude with an acoustic guitar.

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