You have to have hidden under a rock to miss the last two releases from Love is All; if you were hiding, you missed a ridiculous amount of boisterous pop tunes. Now, the group has returned with their newest work, Two Thousand and Ten Injuries, which shows a bit more experimentation and a shift in direction. One things for sure, nothing is as joyous as listening to this group when they’re at their best.
Once this record kicks off, you can definitely tell that Love is All is no longer in the same place, as the blistering pace has been slowed back a bit, revealing a little bit more clarity in the songs. “Bigger Bolder” is the first tune, and you can tell that more time was spent on the guitar work, which seems to reveal a hint of nostalgic garage rock.
As a long time fan, “Never Now” is a winner. It’s not nearly as dense as anything in their past, which allows for the playfulness in Josephine’s voice to break through. In the past, the cacophony often overpowered the pop element, but here empty space is not being filled, so you get a more concrete song pushing through.
But, one of the things that Love is All have continued to push is the bubbly dance tracks that seem to blur the line with discordant guitars. “Less Than Thrilled” has a guitar line that sounds an awful lot like U2 guitarist Edge, but wraps you up in its bouncy bass hooks. “Dust” also brings about that catchy bass work in the beginning, but here you see the band reverting to their old tricks, feeding saxophone into the skeletal backbone of the tune. You’ll find yourself loving the drum circle moment near the 2 minute mark just before the band marches you into the concluding moments.
The thing that makes Two Thousand and Ten Injuries such a strong effort, and one that might exceed their prior work, is that the band isn’t shoving every possible instrument into each inch of the record. “A Side in the Bed” sort of meanders along while Josephine cooly drapes her vocals over the drum beat. Barely audible guitar and saxophone work cut in and out of this track, where as the group would have filled this song to the brim in the past. Closing the record in this manner also works to the advantage of the quintet, as you’ll find them ambling during “Take Your Time.” This is the first time where I’ve felt an emotive quality be created from the group rather than just sheer joyous noise. I like it both, but it makes listening to the entirety of this album much more gratifying than the quick bursts that you might have found on something like Nine Times That Song.
It’s refreshing to see that Love is All seem to have made it out of the possible rut they could have found themselves in after their first two releases. Two Thousand and Ten Injuries shows the band experimenting with different song construction, allowing for emotional releases that often evaded older efforts. No longer do they need to beat you over the head with energetic playground fist-pumping, instead choosing to let you relish in more complex, and complete, songs.
Download: Love is All – Repetition [MP3]