Love Is All | Nine Times that Same Song (What’s Your Rupture?)

Not as self-referential as expected from the title; neither as bitter nor campy as their band name might imply. The press is less hype than genuine excitement over having something interesting to discuss.

 

Something in me just wants to swim against the waves of hype produced by the current climate of blogs and online magazines, creating careers before anyone has even heard the bands they write about. I suppose I am attempting to exempt myself from that process here. I did not want to like Love Is All’s debut Nine Times that Same Song for a number of reasons. I do not listen with a filtered ear to DIY recordings or credit bands for being deliberately “indie” at all costs. I do not even particularly like saxophones. So why do I listen to this album all the time?

Nine Times wanders through the early ’80s with little regard for propriety. Its influences are so distorted and revised over the course of the album’s ten songs that it is transformed into an essential statement of the mid-’00s, if only in relation to the glut of Cliff’s Notes versions currently heard all over the radio. The echo-laden vocals of Josephine Olausson recalls Sugarcubes-era Björk yelped into a Radio Shack mic in the middle of an unfinished basement. Personality replaces content. The lyrics are largely unintelligible, yet you get the feeling that you know exactly what she’s saying.

Love Is All’s exuberant sound isn’t wasted on empty sentiment, but they aren’t carrying a message, either. The post-punk-dub of “Talk Talk Talk Talk” cycles through four distinct musical passages within the first minute, ending in a scattershot saxophone solo over some of the busiest drumming in the business. Nothing seems out of place. Then again, nothing is really in place, either. The song that sent the bloggers running to their PowerBooks, however, is undisputed centerpiece “Make Out. Fall Out. Make Up.” Somewhat reminiscent of critical darlings Wolf Parade with its analog synth melody and manic chanting, the song justifies the album’s aesthetic, bringing together the antisocial and hopeful themes recurring throughout together in a single sing-along. The saxophone finally justifies itself about halfway through “Felt Tip” when it comes in out of nowhere and creates a space I didn’t realize the song needed.

Not as self-referential as expected from the title; neither as bitter nor campy as their band name might imply. The press is less hype than genuine excitement over having something interesting to discuss. More composed than it seems, but also more self-aware than we would like to admit for such a DIY, lo-fi release. Never mind what I’ve written, I’m gonna go listen to that same album nine times or so and try to forget all that has already been said about it. | James McAnally


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