Release Date: Jun 24, 2008
Record label: Red Int/Red Ink
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Over their 14-year career, indie-rock stalwarts Love as Laughter have often produced music that is willfully uncommercial and even absurd. (The Brooklyn-based outfit’s last release, Laughter’s Fifth, had a reference to the Pauly Shore comedy Encino Man, rough-hewn arrangements that obscured frontman Sam Jayne’s songs, and a darned kazoo!) Holy is a different beast altogether. The crisp production by onetime Clash engineer Joe Blaney brilliantly showcases Jayne’s writing, which has never been more tightly skilled or confidently ambitious: Both the eponymous opener and the subsequent track ”Crosseyed Beautiful Youngunz” are gorgeous laments that little prepare you for the glorious Afro-pop-tinged single ”All Parts of Me” or the sinister, shuffling ”Cleaning Man.
Isaac Brock’s high-school pal and first vanity label signing neither modest nor mousyExcept for a few of you, the name Sam Jayne probably has no special meaning. Some may recognize him as ex-leader of Olympia-based indie noiseniks Lync, as one of Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock’s oldest friends, or even as the cousin of late Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley. But most are unaware that Jayne is now six full-length albums into his career as frontman for the indescribably psychedelic Love as Laughter—and that’s a shame, one that his quartet’s latest offering, Holy, aims to correct.
Under the leadership of singer/songwriter Sam Jayne, Love as Laughter have gone through a few incarnations in the decade-plus they've been treading the boards. From garagey rockers in the early days to politically charged balladeers, Jayne and his crew have always sounded fierce and committed. On their 2008 album the intensity comes and goes. Certainly on a track like the speaker-singeing "Paul Revere" there is a surplus of the stuff, as Jayne snarls and screams and the guitars rage like a cross between early Dream Syndicate and Nirvana.