Lo-Fidelity Allstars : Don’t Be Afraid of Love

How to operate with an unblown mind...

Maybe it just took them too long. Somewhere in the wake of 1998’s seminal

‘How To Operate With A Blown Mind’ LP and subsequent blitzkrieg success

Stateside, the Lo-Fi‘s star came crashing down to earth with a dull thud. As

they lost momentum, they lost relevance, leaving other bands to flourish in

the dance/rock crossover furrow they had ploughed. Still, their enthusiasm

for music has never failed – sustaining them through abandonment by both

singer and keyboard player on their first major tour, and compelling them to

create an astonishingly progressive sophomore album.

Necessity being the mother of invention, the Lo-Fi‘s attempt to fill the

void left by original Liam-esque frontman (and band personality) Wrekked

Train by recruiting a cast of guest vocalists, a practice which leaves

‘Don’t Be Afraid…’ both richer and less focused. The Lo-Fi lightstick is

waved impressively at everything from sultry soul (the Greg Dulli-blessed

‘Somebody Needs You’) to unabashed pop (‘Feel What I Feel’) and pretty,

ultra-slow balladeering (Bootsy Collins’ funk-free ‘On The Pier’). Sadly,

this mellowed maturity has come at a price, and the Lo-fi‘s seem to have

lost the renegade edge that once made them truly exciting. Also, one

can’t help but wish that after four years’ wait for only eleven tracks there

weren’t at least two (‘What You Want’, ‘Sleeping Faster’) that are just

plain boring. The Lo-Fi‘s are still operating more than competently, but

this time round they’re not likely to blow any minds.

April Long