The Loves

...Love You

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The Loves' fourth (and last, as they are retiring soon after its release) album delivers the sweet-natured, goofy, and melodic indie pop that fans of the band have come to rely on for a decade. Simon Love's vision of the band as a ramshackle troupe of rotating musicians who are just as likely to break your heart with a version of "The Rainbow Connection" as they are to rock your socks off with a cover of Nathaniel Mayer's "I Want Love and Affection (Not the House of Correction)." The group’s originals veer from rollicking garage rockers to melancholy girl group ballads, always sung with style and played with conviction. Love You has all this and a little more. The ballads are the best the band has ever done, with "December Boy" (featuring vocals from Emma of the Pocketbooks and former Love/current School-mate Liz Hunt) taking the prize as the song most likely to end up on a breakup mixtape. "I Lost My Doll to Rock & Roll" is an altogether sillier sentiment, but the weary sadness of Love’s vocals speaks of some real heartbreak beneath the laughs. Elsewhere, the band rocks out convincingly on the handclapping "That Boy Is Mine" and "Bubblegum," somehow manages to blend some Jon Spencer-ish skronk with “Life Is a Rock and the Radio Rolled Me” on “King Kong Blues,” and on the preposterous “Oh My Gawd,” they take a crack at blending dorky hip-hop with '60s beach party movie organ (and “Genius of Love” and Sly & the Family Stone). As with most things the Loves have tried over the years, everything (even the stuff that seems way too silly or precious) works without fail. It’s hard to know why, exactly; maybe it’s the charming lack of pretension or the amount of hooks per record. Maybe it’s just Simon Love himself. He could be one of those guys who can’t make a wrong move no matter how hard he tries. Ultimately, the reasons behind why the Loves are so much fun are meaningless. It’s enough that they were around and made records that were as much fun as Love You.

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