Five years ago, The Von Bondies made a big mainstream push with Pawn Shoppe Heart, a booming record that abandoned the dark, fuzzy garage-rock of the band's debut album, Lack Of Communication, in favor of cocky chartbusters like "C'mon C'mon." The shift was jarring, and not helped by the way so much of Pawn Shoppe Heart sounded pointlessly pissy. The Von Bondies' long-in-coming follow-up Love, Hate And Then There's You continues in that arena-ready modern-rock mode, but it's considerably brighter—even campier. Opening with the Killers-esque "This Is Our Perfect Crime," Love, Hate storms through a set of high-energy, danceable songs driven by stinging guitar and the utter conviction that lead singer Jason Stollsteimer lends to even the brattiest, shallowest chorus. The new Von Bondies still carry an air of menace, but the snarl seems more blatantly like a put-on. Cooing background vocals and peppy melodies give Love, Hate a distanced, theatrical feel—like a Broadway version of gutter-punk. Still, the bouncy odes to self-nullification "I Don't Wanna" and "21st Birthday" are awfully persuasive, and when Stollsteimer leads his troops through surging anthems like "Pale Bride" or "Chancer," he turns Love, Hate into the kind of ingratiatingly frivolous record that can make February feel like June.

Advertisement