A brief and brazen debut album, Glass Candy and the Shattered Theater's Love Love Love smashes the band's glam rock and no wave influences into pieces and reassembles them into something even more striking than either of those styles on its own. Striking is also an apt way to describe Ida No's heavily phased, scary yet sexy shrieks, wails, and snarls, which sound as if they're emanating from the bottom of an empty beer bottle or a dark alley. The rest of the band wisely avoids competing with her vocal acrobatics and keeps well out of her way, instead laying down simple but relentless grooves that occasionally erupt into free-form chaos, as on their reworking of the Stones' chestnut "The Last Time." Stripped down to a stomping rhythm and fuzzed-out bass and guitars, it's just as taunting as the original, albeit almost completely devoid of that version's bluesy melody. Aside from the song's instantly recognizable lyrics, it sounds as much a part of Glass Candy's body of work as their own songs do. Love Love Love's first three songs form a powerful statement of intent: "Crystal Migraine" mixes a Bowie-esque melody with a twisting song structure; "Hurt" reveals No at her most menacing; and "Brittle Women"'s relentless pulse makes it one of the album's best, and spookiest, moments. The title track and "Love on a Plate" prove that Glass Candy and the Shattered Theater can make a more structured, accessible version of their sound, but the band is still at its most entertaining when it veers off on tangents, as on the dead-of-night epic "Empty V." Towering in its simplicity, the song manages to be loud and hypnotic, droning and explosive at the same time. While the band's sound is heavily influenced by several kinds of decadent decay from the '70s and bears more than a passing resemblance to the music of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (whose fans should check out Love Love Love if they're in the mood for something a little more unhinged), with this unsettling and climactic album, Glass Candy and the Shattered Theater prove that they're nothing if not distinctive.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares