Hmmm. Ludo? Isn't that the nickname for a certain much-abused narcotic of somewhat ill repute? Or could it be that hit by Boz Scaggs from way back in the day? Or maybe it's the nickname your college buddy chose because he always shunned his given name. Well ... no. This Ludo has nothing to do with "ludes," "Lido Shuffle," or your friend with the convoluted surname he was forced to abbreviate because no one could pronounce it properly. Actually, it's a five-man outfit from St. Louis whose oddly titled third album (and major label debut), You're Awful, I Love You, reflects an otherwise irreconcilable meld of angst, edge and ambition.
And while their lyrical twists suggest something of an insurgent attitude -- "Love me cancerously, like a salt-sore soaked in the sea/'High-maintenance' means you're a gluttonous queen, narcissistic and mean..." ("Love Me Dead") -- the surge and sweep that undermines these songs reflect an accessible, high-octane sound consistent with an upstart outlook. Having producer Matt Wallace at the helm (the man behind the boards for Maroon 5, Train, and Faith No More) also affirms a certain radio-ready savvy. But ultimately it comes down to the band's impetuous approach, which, like the overly eager, relationship-ready guy described in "Go-Getter Greg," their come-on sometimes seems a bit overwhelming. But also like Greg, this band works really hard to win you over. Fortunately, it's hard not to love Ludo right back.
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Ludo. With Sing It Loud, This Providence and the Morning Light. Saturday, February 28 . Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $13 in advance, $15 at the door. All ages . 954-561-4880; www.cultureroom.net
-- Lee Zimmerman