Lover Speaks

The Lover Speaks

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Like a classic automobile, they simply don't make albums like the Lover Speaks' self-titled debut from 1986 anymore. At first, the Lover Speaks may seem like a knock-off of the Human League. Singer David Freeman's baritone resembles Philip Oakey's deep croon, and whenever the backup vocals of June Miles Kingstone appear, the male/female harmonies of the Human League is instantly recalled. Musically and lyrically, however, the Lover Speaks easily separate themselves. The soaring, heartbreaking chorus of "No More 'I Love You''s" must've mesmerized Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics; she covered it in the early '90s. The original version by the Lover Speaks is a stunner -- stylishly crafted, soulful pop elevated by Freeman's booming voice. Like "No More 'I Love You''s," "Absent One," and "Love Is: 'I Gave You Everything'" surge with bruised emotions. But the pain in Freeman's voice is exhilarating, not depressing, to listen to; sad and bitter words pour beautifully from his mouth. "Every Lover's Sign" and "Never to Forget You" offer respite from all the melancholy confessions; however, it's the stinging ache in tracks such as "Face Me and Smile," a tale of infidelity, that linger after the album has finished spinning. In "No More 'I Love You''s" Freeman sings, "I used to have demons in my room at night/desire, despair, desire, so many monsters." All of his monsters are illustrated in The Lover Speaks, and every one is sharply rendered.

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