“I’ve really learned a lot, really learned a lot, love is like a stove, burns you when it’s hot”. – Roy Orbison At least once in your lifetime, you’ll wind up as the hopelessly romantic loser, wasting precious energy on heartwrenching poetry, never ending tears, and the feeling that your heartbreak cannot be repaired. Stuart McLamb, brainchild of the Love Language, has already established himself as a contemporary crooner, taking note from personal accounts to vent on the harsh reality of letting go.
Stuart McLamb proved he could make a pretty fine album all by himself with the Love Language's 2009 self-titled debut, and on Libraries, the first album on Merge for the "group" (essentially McLamb and whoever he chooses to bring along), he shows he can do even better with a bit of production help and a few musicians to help him with the tough parts. Unlike the first album, Libraries was recorded in an actual recording studio (with B.J. Burton serving as engineer and co-producer), and this set of songs retains McLamb's impressive gift for melodies while giving the surroundings just the right amount of polish, which serves McLamb's Spector-esque ambitions very well indeed.
Humble beginnings can make for trouble down the road. Sometimes the charmingly lo-fi recordings that gets the bloggers blogging turns out to be just the fledgling sounds of a band that isn't ready, and that immaturity shows once they crank out a "proper" debut. (Remember the Black Kids, anyone?) So North Carolina native Steve McLamb, who began the Love Language as a home-recording project, could have fallen into the same boat with his Merge debut, Libraries.
Lo-fi quintet gets more ambitious but still wants to cuddle The second album from North Carolina’s The Love Language takes all of 25 seconds to get going, and it seems portentous. You might even catch yourself thinking, “Oh no, this lo-fi pop band has gone mega. ” Indeed, lead Lover Stuart McLamb has made a tremendous leap in terms of accessibility, scope and arrangement on Libraries: His gift for soaring tunes no longer pushes against scrappy guitar (as on the glorious “Sparxxx,” from the band’s 2009 debut) but rather it expands outward into Arcade Fiery terrain on “Pedals” and GarageBand Springsteen with “Brittany’s Back.
The jaunty, irrepressible indie pop of the Love Language's 2009 debut was borne of a personal tailspin: Stuart McLamb wrote and recorded it after retreating to his parents' house, licking his wounds following a brutal breakup and his subsequent collapse. The songs he produced, however, were anything but self-pitying. With nothing but his melodic gifts and an appealing sense of wry resignation, McLamb spun his despair into music that felt more like a whoop of joy than a cry of loneliness.