If the Replacements had managed to stay together into the new millennium, reducing their alcohol intake but creating a more mature and stable version of the wild-eyed intensity of Let It Be and Tim, they would undoubtedly eventually have recorded an album like the Martinets' debut. Love! Hate! sounds surprisingly like the Mats, with a hint of their Minneapolis homeboys Soul Asylum and the Hang Ups, as well, but an older and wiser version. (All of the members of the band, particularly guitarist Daniel Rey and bassist Dave Rick, have lengthy resumés on the New York indie scene going back well into the '80s.) As a result, the album lacks the immediacy that a younger, hungrier band might give it, but, to their favor, the Martinets invest the songs with enough cool sonic touches -- like the Revolver-style chiming guitars on "Imperfect Goddess" -- to draw in the listener. Singer/songwriter Eammon Bowles isn't a world-beater on either count, but the songs are just smart and funny enough that he puts them across. So Love! Hate! isn't an all-time classic, but it's entertaining enough to be a promising debut.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason