#1 U.S.A. marked Love as Laughter's debut as a full band, having previously been the solo project of brainchild Sam Jayne, formerly of Lync. The addition of Jessica Espeleta on guitar and Dave Schneider on drums gave the band a fuller, more exuberant sound. With that transition, the bandmembers began calling themselves the more simple LAL. From the blistering opening track, "Old Gold," to the rousing piano by Chad States on the title track, the band's punk rock energy takes on a jam band mentality. The title track is eerily like an edgier Possum Dixon, with manic musical variations and Jayne's exuberant lead vocals. "Slow Blues Fever" continues the band's scorching explosion of riffs and uncompromising energy. It's a West Coast take on Jon Spencer Blues Explosion-like punk rock. The blazing "Tonight" includes guest musician Jeff Smith on organ. "Puget Sound Sanitation" has an almost garage rock sound, while the final listed track, "Phobias," is easily the catchiest track of the disc. The disc closes with hearty dose of rambunctious outtakes from the #1 U.S.A. recording sessions. The unlisted tracks only add fuel to the fire on a disc full of chaotic and invigorating punk rock. The album was recorded at Avast Studio in April 1997 and was released on K Records in 1998.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer