Regurgitator have always been known as a bit of an amorphous band, but with their latest album Love and Paranoia they have certainly outdone themselves. This time around Quan Yeomans, Ben Ely and Peter Kostic have been joined by Seja Vogel (of local popsters Sekiden). Recorded in Rio De Janeiro, Love and Paranoia stands up to Regurgitator's formidable back catalog.
'Blood & Spunk', the opening track, is classic Regurgitator, blending a shouty, pop-punk verse with a good dose of electronic instrumentation. The excellently titled second track 'Drinking Beer is Awesome!' continues in the same vein, but this time exchanging the lyrics for a subtlety poignant comment on the culture of fear in contemporary Australian society (something that is present throughout the album). Next up is Love and Paranoia's highlight, 'Romance of the Damned', a track co-written and sung by Quan and Seja. The new wave-style love song, written from the perspective of a stalker, has some of the creepiest and most humorous lyrics("I was lost in your eyes/I knew you were mine/The first time I Googled you") that I've heard in a while. Following this is the grunge-tinged title track, and Quan's emotional lyrics can really only be described as being about love and paranoia (funnily enough). The musically upbeat but lyrically depressing 'Hurricane' is next, and the track again raises the spectre of paranoia and fear. The trademark 'gurge humour raises its head again on 'Destroy This Town' in one of the couplets of the year: "Phil Collins is a fucking genius/Who knows if he really means it." Other than that, however, the track falls flat on the ears. 'Psychic Dirt' is next, and while its rockabilly riffs would definitely entertain in a live show, they come across a bit tame on record. The short interlude of 'Sun Comes Through My Window' is the only track on Love and Paranoia with its samba drumming is the only evidence of the band having recorded in Brazil. 'Magnetic', written and sung by Seja, is the first Regurgitator song to not have any lyrical input from either Quan or Ben. Anyone who is familiar with Sekiden will know what to expect; a joyful combination of keyboards and pop-punk guitars. The love songs continue (quite unexpectedly for anyone familiar with Regurgitator) with 'Michelle', a song that, apart from Seja's keyboards and the (hopefully) ironic cock-rock solo in the middle, brings to mind some of the band's earliest works. The closing track, 'Armageddon Premonition', is the unlike anything the band has previously recorded. Returning to the paranoia side of the album, 'Armageddon Premonition' combines vocodered vocals from Quan with music that sounds like the lovechild of Can and Radiohead. The result is a track that operates as a perfect closer to an engaging album, and one of Regurgitators' best to date.