CD Review: the Submarines, Love Notes/Letter Bombs

(Out Aug. 5)

 
The first thing that becomes clear on the new album, “Love Notes/Letter Bombs,’’ is that Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti, the duo that makes up the Submarines, is that they are still in love – even if everything isn’t always perfect.

That might not completely matter since their first album, “Declare a New State,” ostensibly about their breakup and reconciliation, put them on the musical map, and their second one, “Honeysuckle Weeks,’’ about their reconnecting in everyday life, hit it big with the song “You, Me & the Bourgeoisie” (which was nearly the iPhone theme song for a while).

“Love Notes/Letter Bombs” is sort of the pair’s settling in album – you know, alternating between loving each other and annoying each other as married couples do.

“There was so much love exploding into the songs, but the tensions were just as strong,” says Hazard.

On opener “Shoelaces,’’ Dragonetti sings “I’ve had better days than this/ words trip like untied shoelaces/ Still you’re worth falling down for once in a while.” The pair trades off lines about trying to come to grips with their relationship.

Fans who fell in love with the bubbly, electronic beats of “Honeysuckle Weeks” will be happy to hear that the group’s sound hasn’t changed a great deal. (They employed a live drummer, Jim Eno of Spoon, this time instead of the computerized one in the past.)

“Love Notes” initially may not be catchy as “Honeysuckle Weeks,” but the songwriting and lyrics continue the band’s growth.

Many tunes, like “Fire,” “Tiger” and their first single “Birds” (lots of one-word titles on the album!) feature Hazard’s dreamy organ, Dragonetti’s fuzzy guitar and a steady beat enhanced by various techno effects and hand claps. Another tune, “Plans,” has already gotten some play in a closing scene on an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Our favorite song is the finale, “Anymore,” a Hazard tune in which she’s vulnerable and trying to figure out where their relationship stands. “And it’s not the first time/I’ve heard you say/why can’t you just love me the same way/I disappoint you try as I may/you might be better off without me these days.”

 

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