Album: Love, Lies & Therapy
Do you remember sitting alone in your room and jamming “Click Click Boom” by Memphis-based quarter Saliva circa 2001? Of course you do, it quickly became a hard rock anthem. It was the first time, in a long time, that the radio was bold enough to play something that hard-hitting and it opened up a world of possibilities for bands to follow. Fast-forward 15 years, 8 albums and 2 vocalists later, surprising as it may be to some, the band is still alive and well. Having written hits such as the aforementioned “Click Click Boom,” “Always,” “Rest In Pieces,” “Ladies and Gentlemen” and enjoying the success that came along with it, it’s not hard to see why those are still a staple in their setlist after all these years. However, they’re out to prove that they are more than a band with a few hits. Their climb back to success began with the addition of Bobby Amaru (ex-Burn Season, Amaru) to the fold and the release of Rise Up, in 2014. The title track showed a new energy in the band, an energy not felt since the release of 2007’s Blood Stained Love Story. Not only that but Amaru proved that they would still show their softer side with tracks like “1,000 Eyes” a track dedicated to our US soldiers, out risking their lives and the current state of the world in general. While many would say that they played it safe with Bobby’s first album, the same can’t be said for their upcoming 9th studio album, Love, Lies & Therapy. In fact, the fire is more alive than ever and it’s evident from the beginning!
This album chronicles the struggles of addiction, in all facets of life. “Trust” opens with a faded-in riff from lead guitarist Wayne Swinny, leading into Amaru’s taunt of “You’re a liar, liar…” before the song explodes with the full band. The instruments quickly and ominously fade into the background, with Amaru’s vocals being the focal point during the first verse. As the track builds, the band comes in with full force during the chorus. Amaru sings of the pitfalls in being deceitful in a relationship, whether romantic or otherwise. You’d think that this track will set the scene for the rest of the album but really what it does is give you a small glimpse into a portion of what you can expect. If you weren’t impressed by this track, not to worry… we’ve got 11 more to come.
Punchy, heavy and hard-hitting, we begin to pick up momentum with “Tragic Kind of Love.” This track tells the story of a couple, one of which, has a struggle with an addiction. As many know, when addiction takes over… the victim is often left feeling numb, uncaring and cold to the world around them. You have to ask the question: “Is it really worth losing your life or all that you once held dear in life?” While, as a casual listener, your attention will be focused on the vocals and guitar, the stars of this track are the rhythm section (Paul Crosby, Brad Stewart) as they provide a very strong foundation for the band.
We lose all subtlety with the aptly-titled “Bitch Like You.” There’s nothing really special about the lyrics here, you’re obviously going to get that this is the end of a toxic relationship. Something that’s pretty cool to note about it, though, is that Amaru has a pseudo-rap portion of the track, which will give you instant feelings of nostalgia. There’s no doubt that the band will have a blast playing this one live, though. It has a little bit of time for everyone in the band to get their shining moments.
Tracks like “Unshatter Me,” “Broken Wings” and “Breakdown” will show you that they still have the ability to write excellent power ballads, with a strong message to them. “Broken Wings” being slightly heavier than the others but no less lyrically/vocally powerful. Then, you have “Go Big or Go Home” which is Amaru saying that he’s ready to prove what he can do with this band. No matter the amount of hate that has been thrown his way, the comparisons to ex-vocalist Josey Scott or those who have doubted him, he’s going to prove everyone wrong. This track shows a lot of strengths in Amaru’s voice. During the verses, he does his pseudo-raps once more, in the pre-chorus, he shows that his singing voice can provide an amazing build up. During the choruses, though, he unleashes the fire we’ve all been craving from him. “Go big or go home, cuz I’m king and this is my throne” he shouts, proclaiming that he has been passed the torch and he demands respect. Regardless of what you think of him, this track is designed to show the haters what he’s made of.
There’s a ballad-like track that sets itself apart from the others, called “Loneliest Know.” This track, primarily acoustic, shows Amaru’s strengths as a clean vocalist. This track is designed to make the listener feel empowered, especially after a nasty break-up. As acoustic gives way to electric guitar, the bridge provides the build-up that makes this track the perfect companion to the feelings you have during these situations. Don’t give up, the light at the end of the tunnel is just around the corner. Take your time, heal yourself and live life to the fullest!
Last, but certainly not least, I want to talk about their cover of the Michael Jackson classic, “They Don’t Care About Us.” Next to Shaman’s Harvest and their cover of “Dirty Diana,” I believe this is my favorite cover of a Michael Jackson I’ve heard, at least in recent years. The band completely twisted the arrangement and completely made it their own. Not only does it sound like a Saliva track, you can tell the band had a blast covering this one. Does it keep the same funky flavor that the original did? As much as you can expect a rock cover to do so. As far as covers go, though, Saliva couldn’t have picked a more perfect song to cover.
Love, Lies & Therapy is the album that’s going to put these Memphis rockers back on the map. I have zero doubt in my mind about that. It’s a well-produced, hard-hitting piece of rock history. If you haven’t decided to test the waters with Amaru yet, dive in with this album, you’ll be glad you did. No matter the side you enjoy of Saliva, this album has a little something for everyone. Be sure to pick up your copy of Love, Lies & Therapy next week, on Universal Music!
Listen to “Loneliest Know”
Listen to “Tragic Kind of Love”
Bobby Amaru – Vocals
Wayne Swinny – Lead Guitar
Paul Crosby – Drums
Brad Stewart – Bass