When a band comes rumbling out of nowhere with a sound that artfully evokes the past, it’s typical to wait for the eventual downfall the second time around. Conventional wisdom goes that you have a whole lifetime to write your first album and maybe a year for the second. The Love Language’s Libraries, however, is the antithesis of the sophomore slump. A radiant, glowing expansion of the sound of their self-titled debut, Libraries turns a good band into a great one and lays down the foundation of a remarkable band seeming to start to hit its stride.
The influences of the Love Language are obvious, but hard to pin down. The drums throughout the record, though much larger than their source, stem from the girl-group/Wall of Sound recordings of the 50s and 60s, a dominant musical theme through the album. The languid pounding of “Brittany’s Back” and “Anthophobia” are clinics in how drumming can color a song. Vocals, too, are coated in rich reverb that gives the songs the sound of chorus singing, and though this is a tool that has been commonly used by garage revival bands, it doesn’t feel out of place, faddish or wrong here in the least. The strings that douse tracks like “Pedals” and “This Blood Is Our Own” and the subtle guitar work on “Horophones” are all textures that give the album its vintage sound.
Libraries is also ideal because of its length (a boisterously svelte 33 minutes) and its sequencing. After the twin softer songs of “Summer Dust” and “Blue Angel” take us to the halfway mark (including “Blue Angel’s slow fade-out of nearly 45 seconds), “Heart to Tell,” the lead single, picks the pace back up, a bookend to “Pedals” and “Brittany’s Back“‘s opening energy. The album even ends with “This Room,” a wistful vocal rich waltz that clocks in at just under a minute and a half, giving the album a gorgeous and neat closing.
Libraries is a summer record that is perfect for the Carolina evenings that birthed the band. A sharp, beautiful record of great melodies and songs, it only makes me more excited for the future of a band that has turned out their second excellent record within just a year. words/ j neas
Note: The digital version of the album, available at the Merge Records site, includes five bonus songs. They are demos of four songs from the album and one unreleased track that were recorded to four-track the same as their self-titled debut.
MP3: The Love Language :: Heart To Tell