The Love Language – Libraries

Rating: ★★★★☆

It sounds like things in North Carolina couldn’t be any better. The Love Language recently signed to Merge Records, and then they followed that up with the release of Libraries.  At first listen, you might find sonic touches of other bands, you might even think you recognize vocal qualities of singer Stuart McLamb.  In the end, you’ll find that this record is full of well executed songs, all of which provide repeated listening pleasures for every individual who puts down the cash to get this well crafted pop opus.

“Pedals” starts off slowly, before guitars begin to ring in backed by light keyboard strokes.  Enter Stuart, carrying his melody high above the rest of the band’s swirling sonic display.  There’s an edginess to all this beauty, and every movement within the song feels sharp, yet incredibly uplifting, especially when the strings arrangements enter during the latter part of the song.  You can’t start off much better than this.

During “Brittany’s Back” you start to get a hint that McLamb has a bit of Hamilton from The Walkmen in his voice, but during this song, his voice seems much more controlled than his vocal contemporary.  But, on “This Blood is Our Own” you really see a similarity, as Stuart reaches for that high spectrum of his own pitch, wavering just a bit at the top.  Still, this song, aside from the piano, doesn’t really sound all that much like the aforementioned band; it has a much more cinematic quality, one that would fit nicely in the wooded regions of the Carolinas.

“Summer Dell” starts off a slew of songs that don’t sound as crowded, musically, and they really take Libraries to the the top tier of indie rock.  Steady guitar strumming, and really sharp drum hits, give it a strong emotive quality, yearning for you to get lost amidst the finer details of the song.  “Heart to Tell” takes a like-minded approach, as its similarly stripped down, though you’ll find a more upbeat group, giving you a little bit of swing as you listen.  McLamb’s vocal performance here is one of the strongest of the whole collection, and creative production from the percussive section adds an extra level of enjoyment.

Something about the approach to the writing in “Wilmont” will forever stick with you.  After an album that seems filled, cleverly, with every inch of space, you have a slow number that is carried by light strumming and McLamb, that is to begin the song.  Once the drums kick in, and the guitar seems to be chasing the stars, you try to follow, yet you’re distracted by the vocals, almost haunted.  It is hard to pull yourself away from this song; you simply can’t do it.

That’s precisely the way you’ll feel listening to Libraries, especially after the third and fourth listen.  Details will begin to emerge, melodies will seep inside you, and you’ll discover that crooning sounds coated in wooded effects can be successful.  In fact, it’s so much so, you will keep coming back to The Love Language just to take a different look around the indie world. You’ll be better off for it.


Download: The Love Language – Heart to Tell [MP3]

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