Reviews for Faith, Hope, Love...
A few years ago, when I received Erik Larson’s solo debut "The Resounding“ I was surprised by its diversity and melancholy. In opposite to his main-band ATP, the album was free from any southern sludge metal, but stronger focused on blues, folk and rock ‚n‘ roll. Now it’s time for his second effort „Faith, Hope, Love“, which is much heavier than the previous one and closer to his work with ATP. In combination with the dark lyrical content it seems, as if Erik Larson has been gone through a tough period in his life, so this is maybe a big release for himself. Although he managed to achieve a good album with this one, I whished he had continued the more traditional ways of American music, because „Faith, Hope, Love“ isn’t very different to the sound of his main-band. Maybe my expectations have been a little bit too high, because this isn’t a worse album. Some songs are outstanding, while a few others don’t impress me as they should, but what I like about „Faith, Hope, Love“ are Erik Larson’s musical skills. He played all instruments by himself, and apart of being a heavy riff-centric guitarist with raspy wiskey-soaked vocals, he’s also convincing as bassplayer and drummer. In combination with the powerful production, this album sounds as if a real band had recorded it. If you are a big fan of ATP , you should give this disc a try, which has been released by Small Stone Records again.
(KK)January 13th, 2008www.cosmiclava.com
Written back in 2003 while Larson's full-time outfit Alabama Thunderpussy was waist deep in their desperate search for a vocalist to replace the departed Johnny Throckmorton, many of the songs on Faith, Hope, Love are personal statements of true emotional/physical frustration. Larson, a native of Richmond, Va, who handled all the instrumentation and writing himself, has a candor in his lyrical delivery that few can claim, but never touches upon any kind of pretention. He is, rather, genuine and down to earth as he lays out his beliefs on life and what it is that helps him through his hard times. Musically, Faith, Hope, Love skews a bit heavier and a bit rawer than ATP's last record, Fulton Hill (Relapse), but with mainstay producer Mark Miley at the board, it's not far off. Tracks like "Smile" would easily fit on an ATP album, and not just because of the guest spot by that band's vocalist Johnny Weills. Of particular note is the cover of Elliot Smith's "Say Yes", which closes the album on an almost bubble-gummy pop note. Larson points to the track as a personal favorite and a song he's looked to in rough times, and on that level(if not sonically), it fits right in with the rest of the material. This is a cathartic collection from an incredibly gifted songwriter. His southern style may not be what's en vogue as far as mainstream metal goes, but his sincerity is unquestionable, and for a record like this, that's more important than fasion any day.
JJ KoczanMarch 2006metalmaniacs.com
The follow-up to Alabama Thunderpussy engine Larson's The Resounding, Faith, Hope, Love roars where its predecessor crooned. The multi-instrumentalist scales back the varied textures of the debut and re-ups the heavy metal crunch found at Larson's day job, though the introspective lyrics linger. While The Resounding was Larson stretching his wings, FHL sounds more like extra ATP tunes the main band hasn't gotten around to yet. Being prolific is no crime, though, and "By My Hands," "Chinvat Bridge" and the thrashing "Smile" kick as much ass any ATP cut. Larson doesn't completely forgo experimentation, though, as the tabla-driven "My Inner Injustice," the spooky "You & Me" and the semi-acoustic "The Bar Song" and "Bleeding Fire" attest. Plus he closes the record with a slamming take on Elliott Smith's hopeful ballad "Say Yes."
Michael TolandOctober 30th, 2005www.highbias.com
Mr. LarsonÆs debut (The Resounding, 2003) û which was basically a collection of songs written over a 5 years span û had a few heavier moments that sounded more like ATP outtakes but in general it went for a more mellow rock approach. Since then, Erik released 4 records with Alabama Thunder Pussy, Axehandle and The Mighty Nimbus. One would guess that heÆd be content about his full assault material and turn to a lo-fi style for his 2nd personal work.
Well guess again. The prolific artist delivers an aggressive slab of southern metal flirting with hardcore that pounds from start to (no) end. Add his well written and very confessional lyrics, and you canÆt help but wonder what kind of experiences he has been through lately to reach such a sonic detonation. The album is so upfront, itÆs almost violent (you're gonna die by my hands). Even on the melodic moments ("My Inner Injustice", "You And Me") anger lurks and rears its ugly head eventually. Picking up "Say Yes" by Elliott
Smith for the end is just the icing on the cake. On the rest of the songs, Erik Larson sings about politics, American journalism, anonymity, fear and pain. "Mad as hell and I want to know why". All these under the sounds of pure metal. The hardcore moments ("Smile", "Bloodshot", "By My Hands") stand out with their direct character.
"Faith, Hope, Love" is a very personal work that finds this guy at the top of his creativity. This album could probably fit more with the Relapse catalogue but the Small Stone crew continues their godly work by offering another highly interesting release. Grab it.
Erik Larson's indefatigable touring and recording schedule has gradually earned him candidacy as the mid-00's most prolific hard rock performer. For his second solo release, the Alabama Thunderpussy and Mighty Nimbus guitarist (to name but two of his alternate musical concerns) once again transforms himself into a one-man wrecking crew, capable of handling all instrumentals and vocals on his lonesome. And, whereas his first outing of a couple years earlier, The Resounding, comprised a mixed bag of seemingly leftover ideas rejected by his primary bands, 2005's Faith, Hope, Love instantly takes shape as a far more willful and consistent asset to a potential solo career. Whether Larson actually harbors such intentions down the road remains to be seen, but perhaps his ATP band mates should prepare for the worse given the increased conviction on display here. Representative new songs such as "Love and Loathing," "Germ" and "Chinvat Bridge" generally fly close to Larson's stoner rock/doom specialties, and, to a lesser degree, his punk/hardcore origins (see the manic "Smile," the vicious "Bloodshot," and the threatening "By my Hands"). But increasingly frequent diversions into semi-acoustic fare (the amusing "The Bar Song," the evocative "You & Me," and the strangely tribal "My Inner Justice") also expose as yet underdeveloped, mellower, possibilities. Considering his supporters are as likely to condemn as endorse these unknown facets of his talents, it's probably wise that he kept them to a minimum here, but when combined with his surprising cover of Elliott Smith's "Say Yes," they offer further tentative signs of singer/songwriter ambitions still to come. For now, Faith, Hope, Love, will handily qualify as the better of his two solo albums.
Eduardo RivadaviaSeptember, 2005www.allmusic.com
Superb second album set from ATP's guitarist.
The follow up to the rightfully lauded debut from Alabama ThunderpussyÆs powder-keg guitarist, Erik Larson was always going to arouse much curiosity in lovers of splenetic, greasy, rockinÆ metal. And while I listened to this with an open mind I wasnÆt quite ready for how classy these twelve tracks would turn out to be.
Erik Larson - Faith, Hope, Love Not only does this album rock like a herd of Rabid ElvisÆs, it also contains some highly emotional and decidedly effecting song writing. It has always been apparent from Erik LarsonÆs blood n' thunder CV that he plays from the heart and yet again his inimitable, juggernaut guitar churns out bone fracturing, redneck power-chords engendering an almost impenetrable wall of bellicose riff rock that serves as a dizzying complement to his red-raw lyrics, and zesty, moonshine-burn growls.
This really is a fiery, fistful of scum-rock as from the overdriven bluster of opening track, "Love and Loathing" right through to the endearing Elliot Smith cover, "Say Yes", Mr. Larson has you by the balls, and should your attention wander [unlikely!] he kicks yÆall dizzy with yet another steak-thick, flame grilled, guitar buzz-bomb...
The wildly infectious energy distilled by this electrifying album is palpable and one would have to be three parts dead not to thrilled by the punky, locomotive bluster of "By My Hands" which charges along with a daredevil lurch comparable to that of a V12 hotrod driven to flame-out by a blind, PCP-crazed maniac with nothin' but death an' whiskey on his mind!
"My Inner Injustice" is not only my favourite track on the album but one of the most entrancing examples of gutsy rock I have experienced in a long time, that simultaneously raises my spirits and renews my faith in unpretentious rock N roll. I cannot praise this album enough, if you are familiar with and grooved on his earlier album, "The Resounding", you will be all over "Faith, Hope, Love" like wet on beer.
For fans of: Alabama Thunderpussy, Ichabod, Antiseen.
Erik LarsonÆs first solo album, 2003Æs The Resounding, was a collection of material written from 1997 to 2003 that never quite passed muster for his day job band, Alabama Thunderpussy. The end result was a collection of brilliant songwriting that ran a far wider gamut stylistically than ATP.
As this album was written after the closet cleaning of The Resounding, itÆs more streamlined in terms of sound; in fact, the majority wouldnÆt be too far out of place on an ATP record. However, LarsonÆs voice û rougher than former ATP singer Johnny Throckmorton or current howler Johnny Weills û amps the heavier quality to the music, especially on ôSmile,ö ôBloodshot,ö and ôBy My Hands,ö my three favorites. HeÆs got a hell of a snarl and it fits the music well. Even the more mellow numbers, such as ôMy Inner Injusticeö or ôYou and Me,ö seem to have an undercurrent of aggression to them. In the end, the variety of The Resounding is replaced with a louder, angrier vibe on Faith, Hope, Love (odd considering the title). Personally, I canÆt complain about that.
What I can complain about is the cover of Elliot SmithÆs ôSay Yes,ö which is an unfortunate misstep. Nothing truly horrible, but itÆs not as strong an album ender as The ResoundingÆs ôBurning Fast.ö And fortunately itÆs the only glitch on an otherwise stellar album. Erik Larson has once again shown heÆs got talent to spare (case in point û he played every note on Faith, Hope, Love). Recommended.
John PegoraroAugust, 2005www.stonerrock.com