Making their name through an explosive mix of hardcore and rock n' roll which has seen the band supporting the likes of GAY FOR JOHNNY DEPP and PULLED APART BY HORSES, "Love Triangles Hate Squares" represents one hell of a curve-ball in the career progression of THE COMPUTERS. Almost completely leaving their punk n' roll roots behind, the band's sophomore album sees them peddling a sound more indebted to ELVIS COSTELLO and soul music than it is to BLACK FLAG. For the most part, clean vocals take the fore with the man formerly known as Screamin' Al Kershaw crooning "I'm bored of screaming like I've got no soul" ("Love Triangles Hate Squares") which provides the perfect insight into their fairly drastic shift in sounds. The more aggressive tracks here are imbued with the same punk rock sensibility as THE BRONX or THE JIM JONES REVUE while, for the most part, this album could easily rival anything in the charts in terms of pop hooks and catchiness.
Opening track, "Bring Me the Head Of A Hipster" (aside from being brilliantly named) provides the perfect balance between the shout-along simplicity of old and the more mature sound they now embrace before title track "Love Triangles Hate Squares" injects a genuinely anthemic quality into proceedings. After this, "Mr Saturday Night" and "Nothing To Say" continue in a similar vein followed by the utterly sacharine but undeniably catchy "C.R.U.E.L". Somewhat misleadingly, the next track, "Disco Sucks" was released as the advanced single for the album but is completely different in tone. Older fans will welcome this brief return to their old THE GHOST OF A THOUSAND-esque sound but it may bemuse anyone less familiar with their back-catalogue. However, rather than interrupting the album's flow as it would in less able hands, it provides a look at a different side of THE COMPUTERS for any newcomers. After this, it's back to softer material for the remainder of the album with the themes of love (or lack there-of) and lust running strongly through the lyrics.
Where THE COMPUTERS' previous output seemed purpose made for basement hardcore gigs, "Love Triangles Hate Squares" is a real step up in terms of a wider appeal and in a fairer world it would see the band stepping up from basements to arenas. They've successfully managed to make rock n' roll relevant in the 21st Century and, while it's by no means perfect- to be so would only take character from it, it's anybody's guess what shape they twist punk, soul or rock n' roll into next time around. Rather than being some cynical move to sell more records, you can tell THE COMPUTERS are still playing with absolute conviction. This is the sound of a band growing up. (7/10)
"Love Triangles Hate Squares" is out April 29th through One Little Indian