Review Summary: Mostly, Ends of June is easy, charming folk, relying on friendly (sometimes heartbreaking) back-porch storytelling.
Every weekend I try to make it out to the college campus to see my best friend. It doesn’t always work out: busy scheduling won’t grant it or I won’t have the car for the evening. But for the most part I take the twenty minute drive out there, no matter the traffic
that stalls the trip. Usually we catch up over a bowl, make our way out to the movie theatre to waste a few hours or enjoy the unforced situations we find ourselves in. I guess that’s where the really, really unfortunately named Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love comes in; Ends of June
reminds and sometimes exudes the easy-going attitude of our friendship. It is uninhibited and crass, imperfect and sometimes glaringly so; it is certainly not the first record to do so, but Ends of June
hits a kind of stride in its ability to feel like friends sitting around a campfire, passing off tales in folk storytelling. It is sad, sometimes heartbreaking, but the warmth is there, blossoming from the center.
The warmth isn’t always noticeable; the album’s opener ‘The Way You Play’ and its sickly melody justly complemented by lead singer Kelly Dyson’s allusions to nausea. “Yet pay it through the teeth,” he sings, “it’s not meant to feel good. At least it doesn’t change the way you play.” But most of Ends of June
is constructed within a carefree, folk exterior, ‘Mayfly’ building up a first minute of cute folk pop before gently subsiding towards what will become very frequent group singing. Dyson, doing his best Elliott Smith impersonation, is very much the leader, but he is underlined by finely tuned, albeit understated backing vocals. In some cases they clash, Dyson’s emotional delivery overpowered by the equally affected group members, as in the blues centered ‘Believer,’ complete with harmonica and banjos. “What time is the right time to waste time?” Dyson asks exasperated, and he gets no solace from his costars.
Mostly, Low La Love works around understatements, shyly adding sweet melodies (the xylophones to ‘Goodnight Louisa’) or meandering along leisurely like the sweetly grand title-track. Many of the best tracks work just off low acoustic guitars, ‘Turn For The Day’ a chilly winter heartbreak based around a jealousy of a girl’s spring fling. Ends of June
’s topper, ‘My Ears Are For Listening,’ is the album’s biggest exercise in minimalism, shoegazing doused in folk. Low La Love find success in comparatively production heavy outings like ‘The Messy One,’ but Ends of June
doesn’t succumb to it. Mostly, Ends of June
is just easy, charming folk. It may rely on connections (its album cover likens Low La Love’s intimacy to birds on a wire), but the friendly, back-porch country twangs of ‘Black Black Window’ are undeniable. In style, Ends of June
may have been better suited as Ends of Summer
, but at least Low La Love are practicing what they preach and not overshooting it.