Hate Writes Better Than Love

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On Hate Writes Better Than Love, the young Indiana band Philpot muscle through full-bore, no-frills, gut-punch rock, full of snarling guitars and singer Kentz Ward's raspy, classic rock howl. This is tough and moody music with clotted walls of guitars that sometimes brings to mind Oasis' young and hungry debut, Definitely Maybe (the Oasis of "Rock 'N' Roll Star"). Philpot have a real knack for the rawer and blunter side of things, such as the skuzzy, down-and-dirty "Mean Mean Mean" and the grand, rolling pummel of "Got It In," which tips into early Soundgarden territory with its edgy bombast. Another highlight is the nasty scrum "Evil Has a Face," with Ward snapping off the words in a jagged whine that more than a little recalls Liam Gallagher himself. And that's the rub with Philpot: their strength is dirty, pugilistic, melodic rock. They slide backward when they aspire into other reaches, such as the awkwardly verbose socio-political statement "This Nation's Sun," which bounces along on a ska-like riff and poses the dusty lyric "Tell me what we're fighting for." The navel-gazing ballad "Fall" also comes off a bit clich├ęd in a self-consciously "power ballad" manner. But those are minor transgressions in an album full of muscular guitars, strong vocals and the kind of straight-ahead rock attack that has practically become a lost art.

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