Love Is All - Two Thousand and Ten Injuries
Record Label: Polyvinyl
Release Date: March 23, 2010
After two critically lauded albums on the What's Your Rupture? imprint, Swedish quintet Love Is All have made the move over to Polyvinyl and released another helping of noisy, rickety post-punk. More so than their previous work, however, Two Thousand and Ten Injuries rounds off some of the band's jaggedness while still retaining more than enough edge to keep them decidedly outside the realm of twee-pop. And though they still make their mark at times, like on the opener "Bigger Bolder", the blaring horns aren't as prominent here, either. Still, even in its relatively "stripped-down" state, the record is still crammed to its bursting point with joyous sound.
In the context of what follows, the aforementioned opener sounds a little like an attempt to render moot any complaints that Love Is All have gone all soft. Vocalist Josephine Olausson yelps sharply over the band's quick-paced melody and ramshackle arrangements. It's vintage Love Is All, pretty much incorporating everything that makes their music fun to listen to. However, if anything, it makes the contrast even more stark when the album plods on at a slower pace with "Repetition" and "Never Now", both of which feature shimmery guitars, the latter almost coming off as cutesy. These slower tempo songs don't sound safe and conservative as much as they sound careful and mature, acting as proof that the band can apply their knack for stick-in-your-head melodies to less rambunctious fare and craft pretty pop soundscapes to back them up.
Songs like "Less Than Thrilled" and "Early Warnings" seem out to make sure the obvious Yeah Yeah Yeahs comparisons their previous albums evoked still apply. They also highlight another returning quality from their earlier work, that fuzzy production value that provides a timeless retro vibe, a trait that's become something of a hallmark of modern indie cool, and for good reason. It adds an indelible character to what are ultimately (and especially in the case of Love Is All) simple ideas. Love Is All wisely make sure their delightfully off-kilter exercises never overstay their welcomes, and when it's all presented in one concise, spunky package, it's hard to resist.
Admittedly, as the lines on my forehead grow ever deeper-- whether due to aging or possessing a cynic's perpetually raised eyebrow-- Two Thousand and Ten Injuries is increasingly the type of record I like to hear from a band like Love Is All. There's an undeniable appeal to albums with that strewn-together sound, the ones you walk away from with your hair mussed-up a little, but some restraint from a band known for recklessness is refreshing. "False Pretense" proves you don't have to lose control to have some fun.
When you start stripping away some of the off-the-rails elements of Love Is All's music, it allows some surprises to seep in, like those Mamas-and-Papas harmonies on "Kungen", or the groovy rhythm section, which is typically obscured in the mix, of the exceptional "A Side in a Bed". That we're still able to observe the funloving side of the band while also getting to see that there's more to them than that is what makes Two Thousand and Ten Injuries such a charmer. That their compositions sound more precisely constructed and flat-out better this time out doesn't hurt either. With their earlier music having been released on a lesser-known label, they've remained largely invisible outside of hipsterdom. It's time for that to change. To appropriate and mix up some words once penned by a "smart man," you need Love Is All.