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Ludo
Ludo
Redbird Records
www.ludorock.com


If you have heard songs from Bowling For Soup, Dropkick Murphys, or New Found Glory then you will probably feel like Ludo are just duplicating these bands' ska-punk fusions and pop punk romps on their self-titled release. There is very little about Ludo's new album that would suggest individuality or demonstrate originality. Ludo's self-titled album never lets up on having fun, but their music also sounds dated, like they are taking audiences back in time to when the Get Up Kids were breaking through into pop culture. Ludo wear their punk rock threads like camouflage to detract from whatever they can offer audiences on their own. They show a preference to lean on the music that stimulated the foursome to play their instruments and write songs.

It's difficult to tell Ludo apart from their influences. Every single track sounds like it was made using a general pop punk template, even the lyrics can be attributed to other bands. The angst expressed in "Good Will Hunting By Myself" practically replicates Diffuser's themes with verses like, "I've moved on, you know / I'm happy now / Well, happy in a crying sort of way / You know, curled up naked in the shower, biting your knees, wishing you were dead kinda happy / But, I realized you were right / We were never meant to be, and you know what? / Thank God! / 'Cause you are the most vapid, whiny blah I've ever met." The lyrics do a lot of ranting, opening of wounds, and trying to figure out one's place in this world which has its validity, but Ludo delivers their message in a way that copies other artists' works, or at least it comes off that way to me.

The 2-disc set offers a live album to accompany the studio recording, which gives audiences a taste of Ludo's abilities as live performers. They play like animals and display an excellent rapport as a band with lead singer/guitarist Andrew Volpe and guitarist Tim Ferrell producing a pummeling action anchored by bassist Marshall Fanciullo and drummer Matt Palermo who generate a pogo-pulsing while keyboardist Tim Convy fills in the gaps. The band's timing is spot on as they form brusque flusters and towering brews. Ludo are excellent performers, but their songs are too generic sounding to set them apart from those bands that influenced them to play pop punk.

-Susan Frances

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