For Love Not Lisa

Merge

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Merge marks For Love Not Lisa's major label debut. The EastWest/Atlantic release finds the quartet sharpening the corners of its ragged alt rock, with tracks like "Softhand" and the churning "Slip Slide Melting" getting really aggressive with their guitars, perhaps searching around for a radio hit. At the same time, Merge still isn't as focused as it might have been. The meandering "Lucifer for Now" seems to be closer to what For Love Not Lisa wants to do; it alternates swirling, dream pop guitars with soaring, spiritual vocals and deliberate percussion that keeps the six-minute-plus song on the rails. "Travis Hoffman" is another highlight, with more heart-twisting vocal ire from Mike Lewis and good use of the quiet-loud dynamic during the verses. And "More Than a Girl" returns from the band's debut, resurfacing in a shorter, more distinct version. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for fellow returnee "Mother's Faith," which is interminable at seven-plus minutes. Atmospheric guitar solos twisting into the wind over earnest power chords and droning percussion is a fine formula. But on tracks like "Swallow," For Love Not Lisa seems to get lost in the components of its songs. Fans of Jane's Addiction's more epic side might take a liking to Merge, but For Love Not Lisa itself still seems torn between its aggressive alternative rock side and the desire to write enormously passionate "Three Days"-style rock & roll journeys.

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