Alas, all good things must come to an end. (When was the last time you read the word ‘alas’ within a review?) So, after ten years, four ‘Peel Sessions,’ several Marc Riley Sessions on BBC 6music, thirty four band members (!) and now four albums, THE LOVES are set to call it a day, with a final gig scheduled for Valentine’s Day 2011. (THE LOVES… ‘Love You’ …. Valentines Day – get it? See what they’ve done? Clever.)
They will be a big loss, as THE LOVES have consistently produced excellent music: music that has a definite Sixties retro feel, while at the same time sounding current and different. There are other bands out there that are currently visiting their parents’ (grandparents’ even) record collections for inspiration, but none do it anywhere near as well or in varied form as THE LOVES.
‘Love You’ consists of ten tracks, only three of which break the three-minute mark and all but one leaning heavily on that lush mix of Spector-esque jangles, reverb, psychedelia and handclaps.
It’s pretty much all upbeat and fun, with Simon Love himself sharing lead vocals with Jenna throughout. ‘WTF? (Or How I Realised I’d Wasted My Life)’ opens the album with a little of touch of a mid-term Beatles feel, before ‘Bubblegum’ kicks in. This is the b-side of the current single and really is exactly what the title implies. Shouty female backing vocals provide the ‘hook,’ while Simon takes the lead role over the top of a whining organ sound and throbbing bass line. There seems so much going on in the background, you feel like you’re actually listening to this from within a claustrophobic ‘beat club’ back in the day.
‘O! My Gawd’ is billed as THE LOVES’ version of hip-hop with Tom Tom Club type backing vocals. Yes. ‘I Lost My Doll To Rock & Roll’ is acoustic based, a touch slower and more reflective than any other track on the album, with sort of bored-sounding but lovely male / female harmonies. Liz Hunt takes the lead vocal on ‘That Boy Is Mine’ as the album returns to the stomp and reverb sound that identifies THE LOVES.
‘I Want Love And Affection (Not The House Of Correction)’ is a great version of Nathaniel Mayer’s 1966 soul hit, again with the male / female vocals playing off against each other and some early Jagger-esque handclaps adding to the time travelled organ sound. ‘King Kong Blues’ is the one real diversion from what THE LOVES have become known for. For a start, the track is almost four minutes long, making it almost an ‘epic’ as far as this band goes. It has a ‘heavy’ feel to it with a big, dirty and determined riff and is more akin to the music around the time of the crossover between Sixties ‘bubblegum’ and the American sounds that sound-tracked the anti Vietnam War protests at the end of that decade.
‘December Boy’ is the current single and is straight out of the Phil Spector, girl band school of song writing. The little twist here is the Abba sounding piano ‘hook.’ It’s The End Of The World’ actually features the voice of Doug Yule from The Velvet Underground as the voice of Jesus’ answer-phone! This one slows the pace again, but has a Gospel (ish) feel to it, although still retaining a Sixties sound with the distorted guitar and harmonies.
The album closes with what is a apparently a cover of comedian Jake Yapp’s ‘The Very Stars Were Meant For Us.’
‘Love You’ is a great little send-off from a band that really deserved more attention over the past ten years.
(Released through Fortuna POP! On 17th January 2011)
(8.5 / 10)