By Jeff Walsh
Semi Precious Weapons stormed into our lives with their monster hit "Magnetic Baby" in 2008. It was an online sensation before it appeared on their "We Love You" album in September 2008 (I previously interviewed lead singer Justin Tranter in Oasis).
The band recently released "You Love You," its follow-up after signing to Interscope Records. The new effort repeats the killer tracks with amped-up reworked versions of "Semi Precious Weapons," "Magnetic Baby," and "Rock and Roll Never Looked So Beautiful." Despite the familiarity I had with these tracks from the earlier CD, these new versoins are the definitive versions to me now.
The band is currently opening up for Lady Gaga on her Monster Ball tour and even after playing these songs hundreds of times, they really captured all of their raw energy and dirty glamour.
The new songs bring a cohesive feel to the nine-song "debut," combining up-tempo numbers like "I Could Die," live staples like "Put A Diamond In It" and "Sticky with Champagne," and emotional ballads like "Leave Your Pretty To Me" and "Look At Me."
The interesting element of the new CD is how Semi Precious Weapons are aware of the total package they're putting out there. All of the songs build up their garage glam rock vibe, while showcasing why they're friends with Lady Gaga. In "Statues of Ourselves," they talking about dancing "like fucking legends" and building "statues of ourselves" to capture the glamour of the moment of their live for today lives.
Just when you think you might be able to write them off as an airhead party band (which isn't a bad thing), they turn out a "Leave Your Pretty To Me," which is a beautiful power ballad with a haunting refrain of "The only thing that came easy to her was me... and tragedy."
It is a delicate balancing act of making fun music that can dance a self-aggrandizing line, not drift into parody, and sound like it speaks for a generation.
I can't wait to see the band open up for Lady Gaga on Monday and, as much as I can't wait to see Gaga, Semi Precious Weapons playing a sold out arena already seems like a perfect fit.
So, I don't know why you didn't buy "We Love You" before, but you can not redeem yourself with "You Love You." You won't regret it...