It's week three of my blog-hosted love-fest for the band Ludo, as we count down the weeks in preparation for the release of their new album. I've tried to articulate in my last two posts Ludo's distinctive sound and what makes them so special (not an easy writing task, mind you). They do not limit themselves to one musical style on an album and they have a lot of humor woven into their lyrics, which can be more prominent in some songs than others. What is surprising is how they pull it together and make it all work. Not only can they write a catchy radio single, but they can also write grand sweeping cinematic pieces too, such as the Broken Bride album. In doing a little research online about the members, I discovered that lead singer Andrew Volpe was a college music composition major and guitarist Tim Ferrell is drawn toward microtonal music and the “notes between the notes of the western scale”. That's some high-falutin' music talk from just a bunch of rock 'n rollers, and it helps me understand how Broken Bride came to be. It's a 30 minute rock opera/concept album of pure genius. It has pop tunes, rock tunes and lush cinematic soundtrack-type music as well, with some wonderful reoccurring themes.
When I first got the album, I decided to listen to it on my way in to work one morning. Since my commute is about 30 minutes long I was able to listen to the whole thing. I started out thinking,"Ha! What a cool idea. Ha! He just mentioned dinosaurs," but by the time I pulled into the parking garage at work, I was shellshocked. I just sat in my car, crying my eyes out. I would try to explain it, but I think I'll let this commenter, indierockfan, from Amazon do it for me, because his/her analysis is everything I want to say about it, but can't figure out how to put into words:
An unbelievable post-punk rock opera
There's no question that "Broken Bride" is a rock opera, but the music has more in common with "American Idiot" than similar narrative concept albums by The Who or Meatloaf. It tells the story of a man (The Traveler) who builds a time machine to prevent the death of the woman he loves. The machine malfunctions, sending him back to pre-history and forward to the Rapture. Ultimately, the Traveler must make a choice that will decide whether he saves his wife or all of humanity.
When I first read about the concept, I laughed out loud at how ridiculous and overwrought it was. By the last song, I had to keep myself from crying. That's not what you'd necessarily expect from Ludo, whose self-titled first release positioned it as a Weezer-ish alternative rock band with a sense of humor. Broken Bride features the same emo-tinged vocals and hook-y rock, but the band evades any attempt at genre categorization in its second outing.
In fact, the album's range is wide enough that there may be some moments that are too hard or too soft, depending on how you like your rock. But every genre twist and turn is perfectly executed, lushly produced, and imaginatively composed. It's an easy album to love, and one you'll want to be sure to listen to from beginning to end.
So as not to spoil it for you, I've posted the first song from the album below. I couldn't post my favorite song, because then it'd give the whole story away. I hope you like it, and I hope you're intrigued enough to download the whole album and take the journey for yourself.