Love Is All

Two Thousand and Ten Injuries

Polyvinyl

Mar 19, 2010 Issue #30 - Winter 2010 - Vampire Weekend Bookmark and Share


If 2008's A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night played up the neurotic streak singer Josephine Olausson established on debut Nine Times That Same Song, the Gothenburg, Sweden quintet's third offering zags back toward the sunny and soaring end of the pop spectrum. Where A Hundred Things was packed with nervy energyall teeth-clenching rhythms and anxious rave-upsits latest album relaxes a little, letting songs breathe with spacious arrangements that crest and fall, rather than suddenly combust. That's not to say that Love Is All has lost its edge; the band's itchy pop is spiked with post-punk's jittery tempos and jagged guitar lines. But here they've spread out their sound, cribbing from new sources and allowing shamelessly full melodies to lead the charge.

In the previous album, repetition often telegraphed as claustrophobic tension, but now Love Is All is using it more as a propulsive, infectious foil to wide open, superlatively joyous choruses. On "Repetition," jerky stops and starts roll over for shimmering guitar runs that erupt in weightless melody. "False Pretense" shows the band charmingly donning a vaguely reggae guise. As Olausson yelps over skittering high hat, spindly upstrokes, and a gang of backup singers, the effect conjures the island-friendly punk rock of The Slits, or a fantasy version of "The Tide Is High" performed by Kleenex. But the album's unequivocal payoff is "A Side in a Bed," a ballad that rivals the tenderness and anthemic release of "Felt Tip," the band's enduring high watermark from its debut. As the hushed, but bubbly bass and stuttering snare give way to a cavernous, shouted outro, Love Is All flaunts its expert capacity for restraint and tension-buildingas if we needed more proof of how Love Is All is utterly in control of its pop craft. (www.myspace.com/loveisall8)

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