Love as Laughter

Sea to Shining Sea

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AllMusic Review by

Sea to Shining Sea encounters singer/songwriter and bandleader Sam Jayne seeking redemption somewhere in the dark passages of this intriguing collection of glam-punk-garage anthems. While Jayne and his cohorts aim for the soul with confessional lyrics, scratchy vocals, and brutally overdriven guitars that underpin tales of despair, the subterranean grooves that emerge on each cut ultimately make this disc appealing. Cribbing the motif of Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown" on "Temptation Island," Love as Laughter finds bliss in cacophonous lead breaks and a quadruple-time rhythm guitar onslaught that burns on each verse. The singer uses himself as a suicidal metaphor in "Sam Jayne = Dead," which gradually transforms from a hopeless dirge into a funky rave-up. The centerpiece of the album is "Miss Direction," which quotes one of the most famous Paul Simon lines of all time yet sounds as if the Rolling Stones could have tossed this one off during the recording of Let It Bleed. The psychedelic distress of "French Heroin" metabolizes with a legato wah-wah drenched arpeggio intro and descending chord progression that suddenly explodes into a celebratory drug haze singalong. Coming to an abrupt close with the marathon mid-tempo tone poem "E.H.," Sea to Shining Sea is a long, strange trip worth taking.

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