The Lovetones make Beatles-influenced psychedelic pop songs under the leadership of Matthew J. Tow, who was also in Drop City and Coloursound. The Australian groups debut album, Be What You Want, was pure, tight, and psychedelic guitar-driven pop with bittersweet lyrics of love and relationships. On tour with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Anton Newcombe had a severe influence on Tow. The Lovetones return in 2004 on a new label, with a new line-up, and a new EP. The Stars EP (released on Chatterbox Records) is 5 tracks of pure psychedelic pop again. While Be What You Want may have had a filler track or two, Stars EP has a soulful strength to every song. Tow and company should be proud.
The title track Stars, both lyrically and musically, sounds just like a Beatles song. The sitar melody adds a wonderful spacey atmosphere. She’s got stars inside her head…, Tow sings with jangling guitars behind him. The wonderful track shows the lost mind of a young woman. While Stars is a solid psychedelic pop song with a somewhat commercially accessible appeal, the following songs are even stronger.
Inside A Dream is a much more upbeat and clear pop song. The simple chorus is poignant and honest as Tow sings, “…I – I – I – I need you now…” It is a wonderful b-side that represents everything that is good about The Lovetones.
It’s Not Over Yet is a cover song (originally written by Matthew Sigley) that is very well executed. The Lovetones are beginning to create their own distinctive sound and Tow’s voice sounds especially moving on this track. For the chorus, Tow sings the title in a somewhat falsetto style. Half whispering and half singing, Tow truly invites the listener into his world using someone else’s song.
This Is Why You Love Me is one of the best songs on the EP. Originally written by Anton Newcombe and performed by The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Lovetones breathe new life into this cover track. While touring together, The Lovetones and The Brian Jonestown Massacre have become close friends and their respect is displayed within the sound of this cover version. Tow sings Anton Newcombe’s lyrics with just as much passion as if he wrote them himself, “…I heard you say / he’s gone away / every things OK / hey / I’m going to stay / So dry your eyes / I’ll never lie / Or treat you like he did / hey / Come out and play…” Although the original is a masterpiece, this Lovetones version is truly exceptional.
Across The Sea is the mellow and sad finale. The soothing guitar melody creates an atmosphere of the rolling end credits of a film. For the chorus, Matthew Tow sings with an ethereal vocal style: “…In the middle of a dream / Baby’s calling across the sea…” A precious melancholy tone is created, and we feel the pain of the narrator.
The growth and evolution of The Lovetones can be found on the Stars EP. The tight, pure pop songs of Be What You Want were just one step in the ladder of their evolution. Stars is a beautiful progression of a band truly forming their own sound while wearing their influences on their sleeve. While some may dismiss The Lovetones as a typical 60’s influenced pop band, the soulful emotion poured into each song makes their music poignant. If the Stars EP is just an appetizer of what is to come by The Lovetones, then here’s hoping that the main course will be magnificent.
Stars EP (2005)
Genre: Psychedelic guitar pop
Record Label: Chatterbox Records