Love Language – Libraries

January 01, 1970



There comes a time when some one needs to spout, “Enough is
enough!” — even if  some journals find
an artist good and/or buzz-worthy enough for high ratings, conversations about
his writing process, and glowing featurettes. Even if the artist seems wounded,
and humble, and puts his mother on his album cover. And even if his record
company gives him the red-carpet treatment. Still. There comes a time when a reviewer has endured a brain-freezing quantity of fluffy
new “pop,” which is often presented as more important or groundbreaking via any
or all of these adjectives: “dream,” “visual,’ “alternative,” “retro,” “indie.”


During Pop’s various glory days, some artists managed one or
two shining moments but weren’t expected to churn out one, let alone multiple,
full-lengths of comparable material. Examples include Mungo Jerry, Pilot, and
Thurston Harris, who shined when his “Little Bitty Pretty One” kicked the ass
of Bobby Day’s version in ’57. The Beatles and their talented contemporaries ushered
in the concept of pop musicians as artistes/full-length producers. Forty-some
years later, consumers are bringing the whole thing full circle; creating “hits,”
download by single download.


Full-lengths can be wonderful. Keeping the (new,
contemporary) Pop designation, several artists have made excellent records (at
least half the songs were very good, and some sort of thematic aura held) this
year, among them: Surfer Blood, Avi Buffalo, and Ash Reiter (the Morning
Benders put out half a great one). But much recent pop is as banal as Jan and
Dean or Doris Day, and as likely to be forgotten within five years. And with
that in mind, the reviewer is forced to conclude that Stuart McLamb of the Love
Language is wearing no clothes – or, more to the point, that he sounded better
without a wardrobe of Spectorish density leading to restlessness and head-banging
(not the fun kind) and instead indulging a lo-fi, found-art splendor as
exemplified by “Sparxxx” on last year’s The
Love Language.


Since McLamb sporadically emits a decent melody, but generally
lacks bridges and/or masterful choruses, it’s hard to get behind producer B.J.
Burton’s purpose – other than to be called The New Phil Spector – in thickening,
and often over-lengthening, McLamb’s resulting monotonous riffs. The few songs
that manage to survive this treatment are listed below. But something should
probably be pointed out: One of these, “Anthophobia,” sounds an awful lot like
Beach House’s “Walk in the Park.” It’s not like any plagiarism seems to have
been intended. It’s more like the current crop of over-lauded songsmiths is drinking
from a communal trough of energy drinks, perhaps licensed by Supertramp. And our
hypothetical reviewer needs to share that she is weary of thin, high-pitched
vocals, and that in this case she’s trying not to resent McLamb for reminding
her of Pee Wee Herman, who she adores.


to Tell,” “Horophones,” “This Blood Is Our Own,” “Anthophobia” MARY LEARY



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