By Bee Delores
The album is an antidote to the world’s sickly state, and the duo are merely messengers to a greater plan. Without question, Lover’s Game is the year’s best album so far.
1. Lover's Game
2. Blank Page
3. Ain't No Harmin' Me
4. Yesterday's Burn
5. That's How Love Is Made
6. The Best That I Have
7. Dumb Luck
9. Up Yonder
10. Have You A Heart
With their Mercury Nashville debut, The War And Treaty bare their souls with scorched-earth vocals and heart-rending, confessional songwriting.
“I have known the fruits of a firm-feeling woman / She stole all my youth / But never stopped me gunning for the marquee, Opry / Slingin’ gospel-country,” wails Michael Trotter Jr. on the mountain-crushing ‘Dumb Luck,’ the centerpiece of Lover’s Game.
These 10 tracks wash over you like a fervent cleansing, their voices emerging as beacons dotting a craggy shoreline.
As its title suggests, love courses with pulpy throbs throughout the record. Love in all its shades crackles and pops, wrapping blue-dyed veins around sinewy strands of vocal panache. Whether it’s the heel-tapping boogie of the title track or the swooning ‘Angel,’ it’s always Tanya and Michael’s volatile musical chops that are relentlessly moving.
‘That’s How Love is Made’ sets the rafters on fire, while ‘Yesterday’s Burn’ goes for the slow smolder and breathtaking restraint. “Tell me what’s wrong / Who hurt you, baby / Lay in my arms / And I’ll serenade,” the duo coo with warm tenderness on the latter.
They draw the listener closer and whisper sweet somethings, as they do with the stunningly somber ‘The Best That I Have,’ a plaintive, quiet admission of unconditional love. “Baby, let’s make the best of our time,” the words slip from their lips with rose-tinted breathiness.
Among their most visceral, ‘Up Yonder’ speaks of everlasting love, the kind that stretches beyond the here and now into the afterlife. “When the road is called up yonder, I’ll look for you / And I’ll be there,” they promise.
The baptismal is hymn-like, a timeless piece that stands against such classics as ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘The Old Rugged Cross,’ and ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness.’ It’s as potent and profound as any hymnal whispered with knees bent upon God’s altar. The conviction with which The War And Treaty sing makes it far more than just a listening experience. They’re testifying to their belief that love heals all, and it’s love that can change the world.
With producer Dave Cobb guiding the ship, Lover’s Game cozies up to the duo’s supple vocals and accentuates, rather than distracts. The production simply dresses Tanya and Michael’s torrent of heart and soul.
They’re slinging far more than country gospel here. The album is an antidote to the world’s sickly state, and the duo are merely messengers to a greater plan. Without question, Lover’s Game is the year’s best album so far.
10 / 10.
The War And Treaty's 2023 album, Lover's Game, is released March 10th via Mercury Nashville / UMG. You can purchase the record from one of Holler's selected partners below:
For more on The War and Treaty, see below: