Love Is All - Nine Times That Same Song

Mike Mantin 03/07/2006

Rating: 4/5

You wouldn't have guessed it from their sweet name, but Sweden's Love Is All have little in common with their country's current most talked-about indie exports like The Concretes and The Radio Dept. Instead, they favour the kind of noisy punk-funk not seen since LCD Soundsystem's debut album over a year ago, with the added bonus of having a full-time saxophone player (which works brilliantly as a backdrop, but occasionally becomes annoying when drowning out the guitar). Still, from the opening battle cry of "one more time!" on first song 'Talk Talk Talk Talk', it's clear Love Is All are providing the kind of feel-good, instantly exciting punky racket we haven't heard done properly for an annoyingly long time.

Their debut album has been described rather lazily as 'lo-fi' because it was recorded in a tiny room somewhere obscure in Sweden, but that overused term belies the meticulous genre-splicing underneath the choas. The infectious basslines and jerky saxophone turn 'Busy Doing Nothing' and 'Ageing Had Never Been His Best Friend' into indie dancefloor anthems-in-waiting. They're then juxtaposed with gorgeous soundscaping on 'Felt Tip' and 'Turn The Radio Off'- beautiful, reflective love songs in which the saxophone innovatively replaces a string section and Josephine's riot-grrl growl suddenly turns all wistful. These incredible slower tracks simply demonstrate Love Is All's versatility and potential (which has in some ways already been fulfilled) to effortlessly hop across genres. But if it's shouty punk-funk tunes with cowbells, staccatto guiars and infectious basslines you want, there's no shortage of those either.

The music may be incredibly diverse, but lyrically, love really is all. Every track here is an effective love song, arranged in the form of a crumbling relationship - summarised on the oh-so-true 'Make Out Fall Out Make Up'. There's the odd questionable line here and there ("I keep the one I love in the freezer"), but mostly the sometimes inaudible lyrics are as instant as the music. And that's what makes Love Is All so special and outstanding: it's not often a band can be innovative, danceable and simple all at the same time. Love is all will soon have all your love.