The Love Language : Libraries

<img src="" alt=" " />The sweet fifties are comin' back. ...
7.5 Merge

The Love Language : Libraries

In the last decade, two of the biggest indie-waves have been alt-country & fifties garage-rock – yet few have tried to capture the fifties country in an indie way.  She & Him (QRO live review) do channel the ladies of country in the Eisenhower era, though a little on the nose (relying on covers) & the whole ‘actress-as-singer’ thing can be distracting (if a pretty one – QRO photos).  But (much well less-known) labelmates The Love Language (QRO interview) get a real fifties country groove going on sophomore release, Libraries.

Raleigh, North Carolina native Stuart McLamb moved up to his ‘local’ label (which also has huge acts like She & Him) for his second record, and while he keeps the style of his self-titled debut from last year, he does get higher-fi, avoiding the lo-fi distortion that can mar otherwise undistorted garage-rock.  Indeed, The Love Language get kinda epic on opener “Pedals”, though strings-led ballad “This Blood Is Our Own” is a bit overdone.  Libraries is best when it sticks to that enjoyable fifties sound, nowhere more so than the piece between those two, “Brittany’s Back”.  Not about Ms. Spears (though that was part of the joke), “Brittany” is catchy, upbeat, and toe tapping with just enough alt-country & clap to not be too poppy and lightweight.  Meanwhile, there’s a fifties swing to “Heart To Tell”, and a fifties wistfulness on “Horophones”, while “Blue Angel” is just about as fifties as you can get.

The Love Language could use more ambition & energy, as sunny pieces like “Summer Dust” or closer “This Room” are nice, but don’t exactly bowl you over.  However, there’s time for Merge Records’ local kids to grow (see the growing label/town-mates The Rosebuds – QRO spotlight on).  For now, just relax and enjoy what was so popular way-back-when.

MP3 Stream: “Brittany’s Back”

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