Album review: "Love Notes/Letter Bombs"
In the Submarines’ world, the sun shines even when it’s raining, and there are no problems that can’t be solved by dancing.
“Love Notes/Letter Bombs,” the husband-wife duo’s third album, expresses a melodious optimism, even when the music is paired with lyrical angst. Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti make slick, easy-on-the-ears pop for both lovers going through rough patches and optimistic lonely hearts.
Although far from formulaic, the band’s distinct sound is marked by heavy studio gloss and bittersweet melodies. The Submarines weave layers of guitars, eclectic keyboard sounds and chipper beats.
As noted by the success of the life-affirming single “You, Me and the Bourgeoisie” from the album “Honeysuckle Weeks,” the Submarines hit their stride with a cheery, anthemic groove. On “Tigers,” the duo harmonizes over a danceable beat while a fuzzed-out organ and a mixture of textured synths drive the feel-good melody of “Fire.”
For a married couple who appear to be living blissfully, it seems a wonder the band can summon the gloom to write a song like “Ivaloo”: “Well maybe without me you’d be better off / And if you say you love me / I should know better by now.”
But the sweetness of the harmonies and glee in the melodies show that any anxiety is just a passing emotion.
--Ben Miller, April 22, 2011