Dustin Lovelis - Been Hit Before - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Dustin Lovelis - Been Hit Before

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2017-08-25

Before I continue further with the review of the second Dustin Lovelis album Been Hit Before, I have to admit that personally, I’m a sucker for a perfectly constructed pop/rock melody, anything from The Beatles and The Byrds to Lemon Twigs and Lana Del Ray (yes, you read that right). Of course, with an array of names that come in between, including the ones Lovelis himself cites as influences, like XTC and their psychedelic offshoot The Dukes Of Stratosphear, and pop weirdo R. Stevie Moore. And no, Lovelis is not exaggerating. On Been Hit Before he was able to conjure all those influences into one big (if you consider 10 tracks big) working musical whole.

This is Dustin’s second album proper (after Dimensions), but the first one where he tries his hand at producing, and it seems he has learned quite a bit by listening to records produced by masters of that job like Phil Spector (there’s that Lana Del Ray connection) and Terry Melcher who produced The Byrds Mr. Tambourine Man album, among others. But good production would not take you anywhere if the songs were trite or useless, and Lovelis certainly knows how to construct a great tune, which becomes evident the moment the opener “Dead Grass” hits your speakers. From there on you can simply take your pick - the brilliant The Byrds seen through the eyes of Teenage Fanclub-like single “Tompkinsville,” “Abyss,” or “My Replacement.” You can basically start playing the album from any of the tracks and you would get that the same California sunshine effect (guess where Lovelis lives and records). The personal highlights, no matter how hard it was to choose were the R. Stevie Moore inspired “Poor You” and the Beach Boys' harmonies of “Batons.”

If you by now get the impression that lyrics might be an afterthought for Lovelis, you’re wrong. As Lovelis puts it, "There's really no formula for me, it's just chaos in my head that sometimes makes enough sense to grab words and a melody.”

Chaos or not, it is quite inspiring and has produced an album of almost perfect pop/rock that builds on the inspirations Lovelis cites. Some have labeled Been Hit Before as 'weirdo pop." I don’t know what qualifies as "weirdo" for those critics, but if that's the case then, let's all get weird. Excellent.

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