The Computers

Love Triangles Hate Squares

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In the middle of their full-length debut This Is the Computers, it seemed like the band realized just how difficult it is to break new ground with purely punk/hardcore sounds, and incorporated bits of rockabilly, pop, and soul into their music. They go even further in their stylistic experiments on Love Triangles Hate Squares and end up sounding more convincing and more entertaining than when they were aping their more obvious heroes more closely (they've named Sick of It All, Black Flag, and all the projects of John "Speedo" Reis -- who produced their debut -- as influences). This time, Alex Kershaw sings more than he screams, but more importantly, the band's writing is more developed, with many of these witty, catchy songs recalling Elvis Costello and the Hives. The blazing title track "Love Triangles, Hate Squares" and barbed ballad "C.R.U.E.L." nod to Get Happy!!-era Costello in their nimble words and soul undercurrents; meanwhile, "Disco Sucks" and "Point of Interest" have a stomping swagger that evokes Howlin' Pelle Almqvist and company. However, it's clear as Love Triangles Hate Squares unfolds that the Computers are familiar with a lot of rock history and aren't afraid to use it for their own devices, with shades of Squeeze ("Mr. Saturday Night"), Van Morrison ("Call on You!"), and even Little Richard ("Bring Me the Head of a Hipster") popping up in ways that never sound too classicist despite all the footnotes. As fun as this romp through rock & roll is, it also hints that the Computers are still looking for a way to put their own unmistakable stamp on their music. Regardless, a lot of the sounds they try on Love Triangles Hate Squares fit them, and their polish and savvy suits them as well as the slicked-back pompadours they wear on the album's artwork.

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