Love and Money

Strange Kind of Love

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Much of Love & Money's 1988 album, Strange Kind of Love, sounds like music emanating from a pub at three in the morning. James Grant's despondent, husky voice and lovelorn narratives echo the heartache of lonely souls crying in their whiskey glasses. A pointed line in "Jocelyn Square" summarizes his downcast mood: "I loved you so much I hated your guts." However, don't expect gothic angst à la the Cure or the Smiths' jangly sorrow. Rather, these Scotsmen look to America for inspiration: funk, blues, jazz, and country. With the exception of relatively upbeat tracks such as "Halleluiah Man," Strange Kind of Love takes its time to unfold, and repeated spins are needed for Love & Money's bar band grooves to be keenly felt, such as on the slow buildup of "Shape of Things to Come." The sophisticated arrangements and Grant's brooding vocals on "Shape of Things to Come" recall the British group Tears for Fears, but the album is distinctly American in style. While Strange Kind of Love is slicker than many of the roots rock records this LP is reminiscent of, the production doesn't soften the band's rhythm section -- guitars weep like wounded animals; basslines thump robustly; and drums are struck with authority, especially on the title track. The album is moody but never boring. Grant's lyrics are often more miserable than the music suggests. In "Strange Kind of Love," he pines for a woman stuck in an abusive relationship and wishes for death in the gripping "Avalanche." "Jocelyn Square" is a bitter "Dear John" letter with a funky, toe-tapping riff that sweetens the bile in Grant's words. When Grant sings, "I hope it rains the day I die" in "Avalanche," one can imagine the tavern lights dimming, the bartender offering a final drink before an evening of barbed confessions is over.

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