Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Love Is All - Nine Times That Same Song

Grade: B+

What makes this record great is that it is just a mess. The record is a chaotic cacophony of spastic instrumentalism combined with just plain old too damn much energy in one room; and the result is, well, awesome. I'm not sure if Pete will agree with me on this one, but this is definitely one of the better recordings that has come out of a New York-based label since Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (although, eek, I think I like this better than CYHSY).

I'm not sure how What's Your Rupture? (the label of which I speak) stumbled upon this Swedish powerhouse, but kudos and good mark. However, Love Is All will never escape the Yeah Yeah Yeahs line-ups with this release, but looking at the poor execution of YYY's latest effort, maybe that's not such a bad thing - perhaps a spin that this is the record the Yeah Yeah Yeahs should have come out with may be in order.

The record is unassailably lo-fi, but it doesn't hurt the feel of the record as a whole. Hiding behind a vale of reverb, lead vocalist Josephine Olausson is great. She mixes sass and sex with ease and finesse, and even pushes some impressive lyrical content that helps put this record out of the realm of senseless dance-pop.

The first thing to notice is easily the saxophone player who spends most of the record floating around somewhere in the distance, but that by no means is the best part, or even the most essential element of the band. The guitar work is superb and very Les Savy Fav-esque at its high points, which of course scores big with me. The songs are well-crafted: enough pop to make it enticing but just enough scruff to keep a good level of indie-cred, some have even dubbed it "punk," but I wouldn't go that far.

"Make Up Fall Out Make Up" drifts a little close to an Arcade Fire cover, and at times the band has some intonation issues (out of tune bass here, another saxophone there) but despite these brief shortcomings, the record is solid throughout.

"Turn the Radio Off" is an amazing song; hands down the best on the record. Olausson's vocals are wandering and beautiful. Laced with a bit of echo and reverb, she steps out of your face and lets her vocals rest in the midst of a dreamy song that slowly waltzes to the finish line. The verses are based on a smooth groove supplied by the bass that is surprisingly boppy, and a simple riff of soft and delicate bells hovers just above the band. The chorus is backed-up by a troop of roomy vocals supplied by the rest of the band which adds to the already desperate environment that accompanies the song. Although it's the only actual slow and somber song on the record, it shows a side of the band that indicates future growth and an ability to do more than just rock it.

I'm impressed.

Here it is for download, enjoy.

Love Is All - "Turn the Radio Off"


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