Misery Loves Company – The Lovemakers

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Disregard the fact that a five track EP's worth of material by the Oakland-based former lovebirds Lisa Light and Scott Blonde might not satiate your appetite for their synth pop; Misery Loves Company is a moody punch to the gut. With their self-titled debut EP in 2003, and their 2005 post-break-up follow-up Times of Romance, The Lovemakers displayed their fondness for the 80s, complete with pop hooks, disco revival and synthesizer-infused, Brit-tinged dance anthems. The tradition continues on Misery Loves Company, albeit with a much more streamlined, radio-friendly production.

This is not a bad thing. Despite no longer making love (maybe because of it?), The Lovemakers have never sounded better. The duo has two shoe-in chart-toppers with Light’s title track and Blonde’s “Whine and Dine” (the ex-couple sing separately on nearly all their songs). “Misery Loves Company” is a great dance track, full of electro-pop instrumentation and punk attitude. Light’s teasing voice may be a Siouxie rip-off, but it’s high-energy fun nonetheless. “Whine and Dine,” meanwhile, could be mistaken for early Depeche Mode, full of dark, moody synthesizer and Blonde’s super-catchy, danceable chorus.

The ballads take a different turn. Blonde’s “Save Me” achieves a revivalist psych tone, with a reverb-lush chorus, (“I’m asking / You / To save me…”), while Light’s voice has never sounded better than on “Naturally Lonely,” a simmering piano ballad seeped with swelling violin. The remaining track, “We Already Said Goodbye,” is my least favorite, though certainly catchy. Its heavy melodic synthesizer and very 80s-Brit feel round out the polished album.