Misery Loves Co. – Zero

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: Black Lodge Records
Released: 2020
Buy Album: https://miserylovesco1.bandcamp.com/album/zero
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Misery-Loves-Co-100819526726770/

BAND LINE-UP:

Patrik Wirén – Vocals,
Örjan Örnkloo – Guitar & Programming,
Michael Hahne – Guitar & Bass.

TRACKLISTING:

1. Suburban Breakdown
2. A Little Something
3. Dead Streets
4. Only Happy When it Rains
5. Fell in Love
6. The Waiting Room
7. Would You?
8. Zero
9. One of Those Days
10. Way Back Home

REVIEW:

As has been said before in these parts, music journalism can be really rather fun. There is the jet-set lifestyle, the backstage after parties, the beautiful people and copious amount of exotic substances to get your teeth into (food – what were you thinking?) Of course, that is all finery, but there is the actual writing to come back to, and there can be an abundance of fun here, too. What word play can we come up with today? What flowery metaphor can we conjure in order to get our point across? What cheap hacks can we use to knock-off for an early lunch?

It is with that last point in-mind that leads to returning Swedes MISERY LOVES CO. and their new album “Zero”. Now here’s a brief lesson in music journalism from a seasoned professional (sorry, hack): where appropriate, use the band name or album title to make a point in your review. For example, “MISERY LOVES CO., which means there were a lot of unhappy fans when the band called it a day back in 2000”, or “‘Zero’ chance of an early lunch as the album’s pretty good”. Easy this lark, right?

The band returns with their first album in nineteen years, and in ‘Zero’, the Swedes have stuck to their classic industrial sound. Chunky riffage, programmed beats filling out the drums and percussion to closer resemble machinery all sit alongside swirling synths and samples to make for a wonderful cacophonous aural assault. Yet there is a nous about MISERY LOVES CO. and it becomes apparent how the band came to be among the most celebrated up-and-coming acts back in the 90s. They know how to harness that sonic chaos together to make actual songs, rather than assorted noise, which makes ‘Zero’ a rather catchy listen.

Opener “Suburban Breakdown” raises the curtain with urgency and intent, the staccato guitars grinding away before giving way to a soaring chorus that lodges itself comfortably into the brain. From there, it is a pleasantly winding journey through musical light and shade, with slower, brooding numbers like “Fell In Love” giving relief to some of the harder cuts in the likes of the twisted “The Waiting Room” and the title track. The contrasting melodicism with insistent drumming of “Dead Streets” stands out as the album’s highlight and probably best encapsulates MISERY LOVES CO. at their very best, whilst there is even time for a grinding cover of GARBAGE’s “Only Happy When It Rains” thrown in for good measure.

‘Zero’ is something of a welcome return for the band, and one that is most definitely long-overdue. That familiar cold, unfeeling sound of industrial is prevalent throughout, even with a slightly muddy production, but the songs speak for themselves. Catchy choruses, like those on the surprisingly bright “Would You?” raise this effort above the parapet, whilst the changes in tempo and feel make for a finely-balanced body of work. If MISERY LOVES CO., then that company ought to be rather small after this comeback album (see, practical application of our lesson) – potentially zero (twice!)

Welcome back, chaps. Don’t go away again.

REVIEW BY LEE CARTER

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