Love, Lies & Therapy

by: Saliva

Saliva's ninth studio LP, Love, Lies & Therapy, continues the harder-edged sound that was introduced in 2013 after Bobby Amaru replaced founding vocalist Josey Scott, who had left the band to pursue a Christian solo career. As the second album with Amaru at the helm, Love, Lies & Therapy takes further steps away from the P.O.D./Papa Roach rap-rock of early Saliva hits -- the only remnant is the propulsive "Click Click Boom" sequel "Go Big or Go Home" -- and firmly plants Saliva v2.0 in similar territory to contemporaries Shinedown and Drowning Pool. This also marks the debut of bassist Brad Stewart, whose elastic delivery replaced Dave Novotny in 2015. Here, Paul Crosby's drums pound harder and Wayne Swinny's guitar soars (especially on album-closer "Hand in Hand"), complementing Amaru's strong, gritty vocals. While much of the material on the album is fairly standard hard rock, slick production courtesy of Amaru and Nolan Neal at least creates an enjoyable listen. Themes of addiction, regret, and fighting the urge to end it all permeate the record, directly confronting the demons on the poorly titled but infectiously catchy "Bitch Like You" and the brooding "Broken Wings." The slower, midtempo moments recall Daughtry and Fuel (take "Unshatter Me," for example), while refreshing acoustic offerings ("Breakdown" and "Loneliest Know") are moving cries for help that sweep and swell with atmospheric orchestration. The biggest surprise is a cover of Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us," which remains faithfully melodic to the 1995 original. Capturing Jackson's frustration and rage with appropriate rock fury, the soulful track ends up sounding like Saliva doing Living Colour. Fans in search of a retread of the grunge-rap of the Scott era may need to revisit the band's older material, as Love, Lies & Therapy is a straightforward exercise of pure aggression and strength. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

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