It was 2010 when Love Amongst Ruin dropped their previous (and debut) album, and it’s not surprising considering the number of side projects that driving force Steve Hewitt has had going on since vacating the drum stool from Placebo in 2007. Five years seems like a long time to anticipate a follow up release, but it has been worth the wait when we’re given a final product like Lose Your Way.
The title track heads up the album with a steady rock beat, a healthy contrast between subdued verses and soaring choruses, and double octave vocals. It’s a very inoffensive introduction to the new record and leaves room for subsequent tracks to take us in various directions. Hewitt demonstrates his aptitude for a wide range of percussive styles, opening Modern War Song with tribal sounding beats and leading into intricate realms. Swan Killer, with its fuzz-laden riffs, is a more steady rock number which takes more of a punk direction through the vocals.
A lot of the album’s strength comes from the fact that there are a number of influences that have resulted in tracks that vary from one to the next but maintain a sense of continuity. This is largely because of a common sense of darkness among the songs. A track like Menace Ballad, for example, sounds really sinister with its clean guitar that is dissonant in relation to the vocals. Hewitt and his band are stretching beyond a standard rock sound but not going so far as to sound experimental in any sense, and each song sounds to be in its right place, despite some variety.
From pedalling bass that contrasts with a fluid melody in Watch Myself to fuzz guitar solos in Paper Tiger and piano chord riffs with chromatic tension in So Close, this is an album that doesn’t allow you to switch off. That is, until you get to the 8th and final track Oh God which takes the tempo down and lures you into a dreamy, hypnotic state. Spanning six minutes of ambient rock elements, it is gradually built up to a piercing climax by a rich string section, wailing vocals and furiously picked lead guitar. I was left feeling quite fulfilled, but let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 5 years for the next instalment!