The Loveless “A Tale Of Gin And Salvation” (1995)
After the L.A. power pop band Candy failed to achieve wide success with their only album from 1985, they evolved into the heavy metal band Electric Angels, who also released only one album in 1990, and who also found no commercial success. After a second Electric Angels album failed to materialize, three-quarters of that band’s lineup – bassist/lyricist Jonathan Daniel, drummer John Schubert, and a singer named Shane – formed another band called The Loveless, with guitarist Jon Ceparano replacing Ryan Roxie. The Loveless also recorded only one album, titled A Tale Of Gin And Salvation, released without a record label in 1995.
A Tale Of Gin And Salvation is a more fitting follow-up to Candy’s Whatever Happened To Fun… than the Electric Angels album was. Where Candy’s songs were sung from the point of view of teenagers who were facing adulthood and were not hopeful about the coming transition, the songs of the Loveless sound as though they were sung by the same characters many years later, after they had found adulthood to be as unsatisfying as they had feared. This album thankfully discards the hair-metal sleaziness of the Electric Angels, opting for a gentler variation of Candy’s power pop sound. It’s pleasing to the ear, but an undertone of sadness lies beneath the surface. Ceparano’s guitar is alternately jangly and moody, helping to express the melancholy feelings of the heartbroken adults in the songs.
“Growing Up Has Let Me Down”, “Lies My Father Told Me”, and “Wish I Could Fly” plainly describe the disillusionment of dissatisfied grown-ups, who (as Daniel’s lyrics eloquently state) feel “too old to die young, but too young to die”. Most of the other tracks reflect on the characters’ love lives with hardly a positive emotion to be heard; these songs tell tales of lost love with a feeling of resigned emptiness, in contrast to the Electric Angels’ swagger. Although Shane’s vocals still recall those of Poison’s Bret Michaels, his singing here suggests having outgrown the glam-metal attitude without finding contentment in maturity. The closing track, “Sex, Drugs, and Rock N Roll Are Dead”, has the fastest tempo, but its theme is no more upbeat, as it acknowledges that many youthful rock and roll dreams – especially those of the ‘80’s hair bands – have faded away. It’s a devastating finale whose resonance lingers long after the CD stops playing.
A Tale Of Gin And Salvation is a hard album to find, but it deserves to be more widely heard. It is as poignant a musical statement as any that have come from the power pop genre.
The Loveless “A Tale Of Gin And Salvation” (no label, LR/001) 1995
1. If I Only Knew Then
2. I Almost Miss You
3. The Return of the Ex-Girlfriend
4. Out Of Sight (Out Of My Mind)
5. Growing Up Has Let Me Down
6. Bittersweet Dreams
7. Lies My Father Told Me
8. Heaven, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
9. Can’t Stand Loving You
10. Postcards From My Heart
11. Wish I Could Fly
12. Sex, Drugs, and Rock N Roll Are Dead