15 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Lovelorn, life-worn pop maestro Stuart McLamb continues his musical archeology, sifting vintage sounds from Brian Wilson to Phil Spector through a filter of contemporary artists like Rufus Wainwright and Atlas Sound. On his second effort as The Love Language, McLamb has found his groove and some sunlight. He brightens up the sound yet tempers the tunes with enough indie rock quirkiness to keep any “homage” tendencies from getting overly ripe. The grandiose, Spector-ish boom of “Pedals” is a heady delight. The deliriously peppy “Heart to Tell” has enough effervescent handclaps, percussion, and guitars to make a dysfunctional relationship sound like perfection, while the swaying, swaggering “Brittany’s Back” beautifully juxtaposes a few lines of fingerpicked acoustic guitar against a huge wall of pop sound. Echoing kickdrums, guitars (acoustic, electric and steel), sparkling webs of tambourines and synths, glockenspiels, and strings all make appearances. But the standout instrument may be McLamb’s voice, as warm and easy as maple syrup on Sunday.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Lovelorn, life-worn pop maestro Stuart McLamb continues his musical archeology, sifting vintage sounds from Brian Wilson to Phil Spector through a filter of contemporary artists like Rufus Wainwright and Atlas Sound. On his second effort as The Love Language, McLamb has found his groove and some sunlight. He brightens up the sound yet tempers the tunes with enough indie rock quirkiness to keep any “homage” tendencies from getting overly ripe. The grandiose, Spector-ish boom of “Pedals” is a heady delight. The deliriously peppy “Heart to Tell” has enough effervescent handclaps, percussion, and guitars to make a dysfunctional relationship sound like perfection, while the swaying, swaggering “Brittany’s Back” beautifully juxtaposes a few lines of fingerpicked acoustic guitar against a huge wall of pop sound. Echoing kickdrums, guitars (acoustic, electric and steel), sparkling webs of tambourines and synths, glockenspiels, and strings all make appearances. But the standout instrument may be McLamb’s voice, as warm and easy as maple syrup on Sunday.

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4:37
3:06
4:07
3:42
4:36
2:26
3:05
2:56
3:39
1:23
2:31
3:30
3:22
4:42
3:09

About The Love Language

North Carolina-based lo-fi indie rock outfit Love Language were formed in Raleigh by singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Stuart McLamb after a series of false starts, hard times, and general malcontent that found the newly reformed artist ready to embrace a healthier, less destructive lifestyle. Recorded, written, and produced in a storage space by McLamb alone on an old four-track, Love Language's heady blend of Guided by Voices-infused indie pop and nightmarish, Phil Spector-meets-Animal Collective-style production caught the ear of Merge artists the Rosebuds, who asked McLamb to join them on tour as the opening act. McLamb quickly threw together a band, which included drummer Thomas Simpson, organist Kate Thompson, bassist Joshua Pope, keyboardist/vocalist Missy Thangs, guitarist/vocalist Junis Beefmonth, and guitarist/percussionist/vocalist Jordan McLamb, and the band hit the road in support of its eponymous debut, which was released in early 2009. Soon after touring ended, the group disbanded and McLamb went back to Raleigh to begin working on another album. With the help of producer/engineer BJ Burton, McLamb moved from the lo-fi D.I.Y. approach of the debut to a more orchestrated and produced sound. Libraries was released in July of 2010 on new label Merge. Around that time McLamb formed another edition of the band featuring Burton on guitar, holdover Missy Thangs on keys, and newcomers Justin Rodermond and Jordan McLamb on bass and drums, respectively. ~ James Christopher Monger

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