Tuesday, March 23, 2010

REVIEW: Love Is All - Two Thousand and Ten Injuries

Love Is All – Two Thousand and Ten Injuries

Love Is All would be hard to pigeonhole. You could say that they’re just an indie pop/rock band out of Gothenberg, Sweden. Yeah, you could say that, but you’d be overlooking a lot. Two Thousand and Ten Injuries may be accessible, but it comprises a diverse range of genres and influences, from art rock to The Shangri-Las.

Armed with a youthful sense of adventure, Love Is All strike a balance between the rebellious nature of punk and the wide-eyed experimentation of art rock. From the surge of New Wave synthesizers to the punk-infused bursts of energy to the reggae-tinged rhythms to the ‘60s sunshine pop background vocals to the….you know, there’s just so much to cover here. Two Thousand and Ten Injuries is quite cohesive even as a melting pot of influences.

While the album’s skeleton might be made up of such sounds, its heart and spirit combine to make this album pull from a much deeper well of influences. In between the jangle of the guitar progressions on songs like “Bigger Bolder” and “False Pretense,” there are moments of acid jazz excursions courtesy of James Ausfahrt’s wild saxophone playing. Standout “Kungen” illustrates the album’s overall adventurous nature best with its appealing mix of Mamas and the Papas-style group vocals and punk attitude.

But more than anything else, singer Josephine Olausson is the defining element of Two Thousand and Ten Injuries. It’s fascinating to hear her go from reserved cooing (“Never Know”) to pushing the limits of her voice (“Bigger Bolder”). Yeah, her voice is an instrument, but it’s also the most effective weapon in the band’s arsenal (ok, that saxophone is pretty killer, too). Some might find her vocal wailing to be somewhat off-key in particular parts, but I’d like to think it’s just one more thing that solidifies the genuineness of the band (sorry "Stuff White People Like," it’s real…they aren’t hiding behind any studio trickery). Without screaming, Olausson uses her voice like one big middle finger to that idiot that broke her heart on an album chock full of songs on the tribulations of relationships.

The biggest detractor from the overall success of the album is the closing track, “Take Your Time” – which is about the only true flaw of the album. Following the preceding tracks that managed to successfully mix various genres together, “Take Your Time” falls a bit short of being a proper end to such a strong effort. The song seemingly plays with Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major” (you know this wedding song). Granted, it’s a fitting melody as Olausson sings about waiting for love, wondering about what could be or could have been.

The band may sound sharp and rough, but at their center is the sweet, sweet sound of indie pop perfection. One of the most intriguing things is their ability to sound innocent one moment and then threatening the next. They run a gambit of emotions without ever straying outside of their own sound, wearing their influences well. You can spend your time throwing comparisons around, but when it comes down to it…this is pure Love Is All. They are universal just as much as their name is.

Two Thousand and Ten Injuries is out today on Polyvinyl. Buy it here.

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