Release Date: Nov 11, 2008
Record label: What's Your Rupture?
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
You know when you hear an album described as a “grower”, it’s usually a sophomore album, and it’s usually nowhere as good as the first. Well, though A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night may not hit as viscerally the melodic highs of Nine Times That Same Song, the Swedish group’s second album is surely comparably great. We’ll forgive this year’s Love Is All ...
Listening to the fiercely adrenalized sophomore disc by Sweden's Love Is All is like being at the fair for an entire weekend, stuffing your face with cotton candy and taking one too many spins on the Gravitron. You're left giddy and disoriented by the lo-fi layers of scronking sax, noodling guitar riffs, disco-punk drumming and zany yipping by frontwoman Josephine Olausson, who uses every last breath to gleefully spit lyrics on the theme of single-life loneliness. Just when the band's relentlessness verges on tiresome, they offer the sparse almost-ballad A More Uncertain Future.
A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night is an incredibly appropriate album title for this, the sophomore album from Swedes Love Is All. The album's nearly 33 minutes are all anxiety and disappointment, rationalization and wonderment. It's no surprise that these guys can't sleep, their sheep refuse to be counted; they're too busy going on about regret and hesitation.
It’s possible I’m jeopardising my immortal soul just by writing the words ‘sax-driven twee’, so fuck knows what Gothenburg quintet Love Is All were thinking when they actually tried to make the stuff. But gosh darn it, they pulled it off: instead of condemning the band to the torments of Hades, debut album Nine Times That Same Song was an ebullient burst of noise and confusion, the base elements of twee – lo-fi aesthetic, lovelorn confusion, self-depreciation – spun into something utterly berserk. The key was the sheer lack of calculation: so many twee acts are painfully self-conscious, but this was a tumultuous outpouring of raw, feral instinct, singer Josephine Olausson engaging with the oddest of subjects with kamikaze abandon, saxophonist Fredrik Eriksson’s seemingly solely set on making as much noise as possible.
To think about Love Is All’s new record, A Hundred Things Keep Me up at Night, historically, you have to start by thinking about surf music and how hard it fell out of favor after the post-rock school’s clean and self-assuredly minimally referential style came to dominate indie rockdom. Surf music, like rockabilly, acquired a deadly generational stamp – another form of exotica that stank of pre-Internet taste ghettoes and unironically polyester clothing. This shovelful of excavation should be enough to allow me to say that while A Hundred Things Keep Me up at Night is not surf or rockabilly or punk per se, it manages to gather up a lot of loose ends from those genres while finding a lot of them to be live wires.