Bobgoblin touts themselves as a post punk band with a social conscience. They live up to this promise with lyrics that are deliciously sardonic and poetic. Drawing influence from punk, new wave, and seventies-era glam, the trio’s music is energized and catchy. On their most recent album, Love Lost for Blood Lust, the production is tight while the songs are potent and relevant. It is “power pop” with a social message, not in-your-face political, but enough to make you think.
The group was formed in Texas in the early 1990s by vocalist/keyboardist Hop Litzwire and drummer Rob Avsharian. Back then, same as now, the group’s lyrics have been inspired by socio-political events and realities. As Litzwire put it; “when we started our journey, we were angry young man, and now we’re angry old men”. Joined by guitarist Tony Jannotta, Bobgoblin released the 1994 independent album, Jet, followed by the 1997 major-label release, 12 Point Master Plan, while they were with MCA Records. Following their departure from the label, the group briefly changed their name and musical direction under the moniker, The Adventures of Jet (AOJ) and with a more melody-based, “poppy” sound. AOJ released two albums – Part 3: Coping with Insignificance in 2000 and Muscle 2004 – that elevated their worldwide popularity. However, the group did temporarily disband for several years before being inspired to revive the “Bobgoblin” name when global economic issues intensified in the late 2000s.
Starting in 2011, the group began to record in bits and pieces at Barry Poynter‘s studio in Little Rock, Arkansas. Litzwire composed skeletal versions of most of the songs and the lyrics, while all three members contributed musically to the finished product. Jannotta specialized at articulating the lyrical concepts within the songs, while Avsharian was the most experienced in terms of music theory. Being meticulous about song selections, Litzwire (who co-produced the album along with Poynter), claims about 3 records worth of material got recorded, with a “ton of tracks” left on the cutting room floor. Overall, Litzwire feels that this record strikes a balance between the raw energy of early Bobgoblin and the more orchestrated and musically expansive sound of AOJ.
|Love Lost for Blood Lust by Bobgoblin|
|Released: September 10, 2015
Produced by: Hop Litzwire and Barry Poynter
|Track Listing||Group Musicians|
|Feel No Pain
Waiting For the Sun
Some Things I Want To Say
Hide From Tomorrow
Eulogy For Poor Daniel
Turn Gears Turn
From The Hill
I Know A Place
The album commences with “Feel No Pain”, which kicks right in with an energetic synth hook and sardonic lyrics centering upon shallow people with little or no conscience and their short attention spans;
They shook me down, yeah they gave me a scare but something else came up and now they don’t care / Instead of doing time and paying my dues I got a bonus just for changing the news…”
“Danger” has a catchy pop hook with lyrics about being afraid of everything (or perhaps being manipulated into being afraid of everything?), while “Waiting For the Sun” is about patiently waiting for something to change for the better. Musically there is an ethereal, choir-like background, like “Moonies” looking to the clouds and singing. Continuing on, “Some Things I Want To Say” is a straight up pop song about the give-and-take in relationships with some catchy guitar hooks, while “White Lines” is a perfect punk screed dressed up with pop hooks and lyrics about being spoon-fed a thought process;
We’ve got the world in a lab running mazes for an ounce of cheese / Invent a word and they dance to the alter as devotees – I need more, please!”
An overall standout, “Hide From Tomorrow” features more lyrics about duplicity and getting caught when a plan doesn’t work out, along with more powerful bass lines, heavy guitar riffs, well-placed synths and tight production. “Fighting Machines” has a juxtaposition of some rough and biting lyrics with sweet, party-like music and a heavily hook laden chorus, while “Eulogy For Poor Daniel” has a powerful rolling beat, a catchy hook that begs you to sing along even though the lyrics are tragically sad.
Coming down the stretch, “Turn Gears Turn” is about moving on with something even though it is empty and pointless, while in contrast “From The Hill” is a screed about leaders and the way they speak to the masses as well as more social commentary on the dangers of blind belief. “Eternal Snow” uses the bleak symbolism of coldness and snow lyrically, with musical tension building throughout the song and a haunting vocal and other good effects. “I Know a Place” closes the album with a warning to beware of false prophets and not to give up your rational thought and free will for anyone claiming to have all the answers.
At points, Love Lost for Blood Lust gets a little repetitive, but the overall message of being aware of what is going on around you, maintaining rational thought and not making deities out of our political leaders comes through loud and clear. Litzwire is optimistic about the future of the group even though they have no special plans other than to doing this together for as long as they can. He added; “we are our favorite band”.