the lovers and the fighters take their swings at me

Benign is the word that jumps to mind when listening to LA’s War Tapes. They’re likable, but nothing to write home about. They’re kind of boring, but not enough to turn the speakers off. On their self-titled EP, it’s more or less middle of the road.

The War Tapes EP is a six-song collection of new wave-influenced power-pop. The black hair dye and pleather practically seep out of the speakers as singer Neil Popkin’s wannabe-Ian Curtis vocals drone over synth and guitar. Nothing on the album particularly stands out, as it’s all a respectable stab at a sound that first hit over twenty years ago / a more morose version of what The Killers did on Hot Fuss.

“Dreaming of You” has a slightly more bombastic sound that is gunning for an arena-appropriate sound, but Popkin loses his unattached robot demeanor when reaching for a higher register. Repetition on “The Mutiny” quickly annoys, but since it’s the last song on the album it squeaks by.

If listeners are already a fan of the sound, War Tapes is a fairly pleasant listen, but for those looking for something innovative just skip back to the originals.

War Tapes EP dropped 09/16/08.
Listen to most of the EP here and download “Dreaming of You” here.

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