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Josh T. Landow

CD of The Week

Week of 4/22/19

    Dave Hause - Kick (Rise)

    Dave Hause and his band The Loved Ones came up through the same scene as The Gaslight Anthem and their peers, making Springsteen-influenced punk rock. Though The Loved Ones never officially have broken up, Hause has focused on his solo career and especially his songwriting. It shows on Kick, his fourth full-length solo record.

    On 2017's Bury Me in Philly, Hause chronicled leaving his beloved hometown behind to start a new chapter with his wife on the West Coast. Now that he's settled in California, Hause is taking stock of society and sees a world spiraling out of control, while he just tries to hang on in these trying times. Lead single "The Ditch" tackles this uncertainty around us all and the toll on one's mental health. And on "Saboteurs," Hause sings of how "lunatics watch the nuclear codes."

    Hause now lives in the Santa Barbara area, where multiple wildfires struck in recent years, and those fires loom over multiple songs. In "Weathervane," Hause is being spun around by the non-stop barrage of horror surrounding us all these days, from the aforementioned "fire jumping over the 405" and "the synagogue where no one got out alive" to "retirement spent on replacement knees" and "the satellite with its eyes on me." And on "OMG," he describes our lives as "we're all drunk driving/sending texts from the center lane."

    Other highlights include the album opener "Eye Aye I" is from the POV of an aging punk who "used to spit it right back in their face, now I ask how it's sold" and the nostalgic "Fireflies." Musically, Hause isn't reinventing the wheel here. You know what you're going to get on Kick, and that's not a bad thing, though the big soulful backing vocals on the feminist "Warpaint" are a nice touch.

    Kick wraps up with the powerful "Bearing Down," which finds Hause contemplating suicide, but choosing life and his loved ones. Despite the darkness around, he declares, "Hallelujah we're alive." On Kick, Hause sums up the confusion and uncertainty of this era, refusing to give in but to fight back instead. Hopefully, we can all kick back as well.
    Review by Joey O.

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