Men Without Hats - Love In The Age Of War (Cobraside) ****1/2
When Men Without Hats toured last year, singer, Ivan Doroschuk, made a promise of a new album to be in works. The promise came true, and the album is finally here. Men Without Hats are of course a legendary new wave band from Montreal, who scored big with "Safety Dance," one of the staple songs of the 80s. There was always so much more to the band then the above mentioned hit. This incarnation of the band features Ivan as the only original member, but no need to be afraid, the new band more than delivers the goods.
The album is very upbeat, intense, and catchy. It's as if time stood still, only with better technology. The album opens up with very fast paced "Devil Come Around" and is followed by "Head Above Water," and this one owes a very nice hook to Jean Michel Jarre, but it works perfectly within the song. "Everybody Knows," and "The Girl With The Silicon Eyes" are absolutely stunning tunes, this is MWH at its best. "This War" was the cut the band played live, and it's a heavy hitter as well.
The one big difference are the lyrics, there is a sense of maturity, but it's still the same old punk attitude underneath it all. Ivan sounds superb, much more in your face than ever before, sometimes touches upon Andrew Eldritch's deepness. And his trade-mark Ivanisms (the note-bending vocal delivery) still add charm to every song. The band is exploring the electronic influence, there are some sounds that could've been easily utilized by Kraftwerk, or the more commercially oriented Jarre. Men Without Hats makes a great use of these sounds, combines them with their style, and really shows a great growth. It's safe to say "Love In The Age Of War" rivals and in many ways surpasses everything Men Without Hats had done in the past. The music is very relevant, and there are some potential chances for a hit or two. It's a perfect record from the true new wave survivors.