Philadelphia’s The Loved Ones are one of the newest additions to Jade Tree and debut with their five-song, self-titled EP. The three men in this band have logged hours with bands like Dynamite Kid, The Curse, Trial By Fire, and most recently Paint It Black. Dave Hause plays guitar and sings with a sort of gruff voice for this trio, rounded out by Michael "Spider" Cotterman on bass and Mike Sneeringer on drums.
The band’s sound is a basic melodic punk rock one, driven by a thick mix of guitar and drums with a helping of bass. Hause sings at a steady rate with the upbeat music, putting in a little more grit as the chorus parts come around. The EP itself contains four full-band tracks and one acoustic. The opener, "100K", is a fast anthem-like track that features a shout-a-long chorus and all-around solid playing. "Chicken" is another faster track that is quite a bit like the previous. After this comes the band’s best effort, "Massive". It is driven by a catchy bass rhythm with guitar chords chiming in here and there during the verse parts. As a whole, this track leans more towards the rock side of the ‘punk rock’ term, but the punk influence is definitely there. It also features a great build up and ending, proving why it’s the best track on the EP. Later on, the acoustic track, "Drastic", features Hause’s voice in good light as he sings lasting lines like ‘and they’d leave us to drown here according to plan/but if this ships going down you’ll find me with the band’.
The five songs on this EP offer a pretty decent look at The Loved Ones. They play upbeat melodic punk that is both fun and catchy. The four full-band songs all stay in pretty safe territory and the acoustic track, although widely used nowadays, doesn’t seem like a lame attempt at diversity. As a purchase, this might not be the most fulfilling package as you can most likely download at least two of the tracks here, however, it is produced by Brian McTernan (Thrice, Strike Anywhere) and contains a neat clear CD. I’d wait for a full-length after checking them out, but for now, not a bad start for The Loved Ones.