Saying goodbye is never easy at the best of times. Especially if they’re the long drawn out type of goodbye. Thankfully, The Loves have made their departure as quick and painless as possible (in album terms at least), with their swansong coming in at a to-the-point 29 minutes.
Their final album, recorded at Soup Studios underneath London’s Duke Of Uke shop (the birthplace of last year’s acclaimed Allo, Darlin’ album), sees The Loves dish out another healthy serving of the indiepop-meets-’60s sounds that they’ve been pedalling to a small but enthusiastic fanbase for the past 10 years, albeit for the last time. Indiepop-meets-the-’60s is by no means a new concept, and for people who have entered into the world of indie-pop recently comparisons to newcomers The School will always linger on the horizon. As such it comes as no surprise to learn that Emma Hall of The School features on …Love You.
Opener Wtf’s lilting tempo gets us off to an easy start. It’s pleasant enough, though it immediately calls to mind Take That‘s Shine (albeit with machine-gun lyrical delivery and a sound somewhere around The Bees-lite). It sounds like the perfect summer festival road trip soundtrack, so of course it gets released during the grey and damp of January. Bubblegum is of the Ronseal school of song titles, being – you’ve guessed it – a prime slice of ’60s bubblegum pop complete with an infectious shuffling beat.
I Lost My Doll To Rock & Roll is the only song on the album not recorded live (being a rehashed four-track demo). It doesn’t show, however, with the wistful tune sitting in somewhere between a lost Byrds song or Scott McKenzie‘s San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) (albeit sans jangle), and featuring the best bit of whistling since Peter Bjorn and John‘s Young Folks. That Boy Is Mine and its tale of a girlfriend having to ward off love rivals picks up the album’s tempo again, with a stomping, Northern Soul-esque beat and handclaps in all the right places, proving that The Loves know how to craft a instantly catchy pop song.
It’s a theme revisited on a sterling cover of Nathaniel Mayer‘s I Want Love And Affection, which comes across like Elvis Costello‘s version of I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down after a caffeine binge. December Boy sees not only The Loves at their most cutesy, but also sees them go from ’60s influences to a more widescreen brand of melodic melancholia reminiscent of Abba.
Ultimately, in a genre which has recently expanded, the record doesn’t do enough to fully distinguish itself from the myriad of other similar releases. It’s no Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Allo Darlin’ or Standard Fare in that it doesn’t make you sit up and take notice of its presence. That said, while not being essential, it’s hard to dislike. At its best its the perfect antidote to the grim realities we face in both the economic and atmospheric climate, though perhaps best enjoyed in small doses rather than as a whole. As a swansong, it forms a representative picture of the band, and is certainly worth a listen.