Sunday, December 14, 2008

Love Is All - A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night

Love Is All is loud, anxiety-ridden, and occasionally fucking awesome.

They’re part of the massive wave of Swedish indie acts that have risen to the surface these past few years (Jens Lekman, El Perro del Mar, Lykke Li, among others – likely to be covered in future reviews).

Commanding lead vocals, Josephine Olausson sings every song like her heart was just broken but she’s ready to fight. The songs are mostly held together by upbeat ska-like horns, with the saxophone just as essential as the drums.

“Sea Sick” must refer to the unsteady structure of the song and is a clear highlight of the album. Beats come in and out, slower and faster, with claps and chorus and fantastic lyrics. Olausson’s apathetic cry I’m bored to death / I’m bored as shit” in the chorus, accompanied by a clap track and staccato guitar make for an easily identifiable sound for Love Is All. It’s what first attracted me to them. There’s something so appealing to how Olausson sings. I’m pretty sure it’s because I picture her as a really cute Swedish girl (don’t you?). Besides that, she happens to be a fantastic post-punk crooner.

You’ll find few guitar solos here, friend. Most of the solo work on this album belongs to Fredrik Eriksson on the sax, meticulously blended through effects pedals. He finds his way onto most of the songs, giving them a brake from their usual regimented beats. It’s easy to hear surf rock, art punk, modern-alt, ska, post punk, and demi-etrusian (OK, I made 2 of those genres up, can you guess them? Good job, here’s a lollipop.)

This album doesn’t have much as a whole. Some of the songs sound too similar and most of the band members could be replaced without anyone noticing, save Olausson. Not to say that some of the songs aren’t great. They’re full of life and make you want to dance silly. And I do dance silly, quite often. It’s the best way to enjoy this album. Don’t pick it apart, enjoy it for what it is: upbeat and danceable.

The Count

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