In the world of modern rock, trying to make something relevant while grabbing mass audiences is a delicate tightrope walk. Ottawa’s Fools Of Love manages to offer some exciting pop-rock jams, while using this accessibility to take other songs completely off the rails. Though the record can feel as though it constantly changes gears, it shows the full breadth of their talent.
Throughout the album, Fools of Love show a real sense of grandeur and dynamics in their writing that keeps it all just as intriguing as it is fun to listen to. They let you know this is their M.O. as the album starts on “Miles Away” where rolling drum-lines and sweeping strings just make their dark guitars all the more epic. Rather than getting overtly serious or too cliché, they lean into the heavy riffs with earnest emotions to make every drop feel poignant and satisfying.
While their opening track offers more of a dense and all-enveloping rock experience, they explore individual sounds with a powerful depth through the other songs on the record. They embody the worlds of metal and hard rock on “Fix Yourself” while actually critiquing the “Live fast, die young” lifestyle many similar songs promote. Though this makes for a much stronger lyrical focus, Fools of Love effortlessly cover all their bases in the writing on this one.
As they switch to much more rapid and sprawling rock on tracks like “Golden Age” and “Heavy Head” however, they knock out catchy moments again and again. Despite the utter chaos and non-stop pace many of these sons on the record have, Fools of Love tend to fit in more detail and powerfully descriptive writing in these songs.
Other moments in the record find the band pushing their writing to truly explosive ends, while they take some hard left turns that truly pay off. Such is the case on something like “Live Forever (Never Die)” where Fools Of Love slowly build from a tender, personal soft-rock track into something with momentum. It’s when they hit a bridge, similar to what they do on “Swan Dive” that they really show the dynamic range to not only keep their songs interesting but with a range that makes their music emotionally satisfying. Even the sequencing on the album helps add tension to songs like “Sleeping On A Train” that despite its fairly consistent energy from start to finish always feels like it’s about to open up.
In the scheme of the record, this release comes in the immediate rush of “Down By The Lake” which takes every one of the cues from “Sleeping On A Train” and goes for it viciously. Fools Of Love’s greatest strengths are being able to make each song work individually while truly transcending as one larger piece, as their stories stand tall while complementing each other’s energy. Even after the excitement has shaken off from their transition, “Down By The Lake” is truly Fools Of Love at their most fiery, where every eccentric hook is taken to a memorable place and the energy is contagious.
Truly a band ready to dominate well beyond their local stages, Fools Of Love bring their A-game to The Howl and The Whisper. Mixing accessible and fun pop moments with ambitious rock writing, they never get too comfortable on this record. Though their more epic writing could make their other songs feel simplistic, Fools of Love end up exploring sounds in these moments to keep the album exciting.