Simon Love

Sincerely, S. Love X

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Simon Love, the wry brain-trust behind '60s-inspired Welsh indie pop outfit the Loves, made his full-length solo debut with 2015's It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, a set of ribald chamber pop songs that ran the gamut from fizzy bubblegum fare to sharp-witted singer/songwriter ballads. After switching from longtime label Fortuna Pop! to Germany's Tapete Records, he follows up with Sincerely, S. Love X, which plays like a thematic sequel in both tone and content. That Love's press materials include instructions on pronouncing the album title's "X" as a kissing sound ought to give listeners an indication of the singer's approach to writing and his overall aesthetic. As with its predecessor, Sincerely couches tales of love and devotion in slyly written, vulgarity-strewn romps whose lushly orchestrated arrangements seem intended to offset the shock value of choruses like "I Fucking Love You" and "God Bless the Dick Who Let You Go," the latter of which were written as a wedding gift to his wife. There's a solipsistic ode to self appropriately called "The Ballad of Simon Love" with a loose Brit-pop groove followed by a surprisingly sincere ode to Joey Ramone, whose Brill Building vibes make it even sweeter. Love flashes plenty of musical craft and his trademark lyrical wit here, but it's hard not to hear Sincerely as somewhat of a retread of his debut. By the time penultimate track "All This Dicking Around (Is Bringing Me Down)" reaches its far-too-lengthy breakdown chorus, the whole affair feels a bit worn out. Tacking the sprightly standout "Not If I See You First" on at the very end may have been an attempt to revive the collection with a robust digestif, but it probably would have been better served near the top of the sequence.

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