Review Summary: It's not often 'more of the same' is one of the biggest compliments you can give a band.
Love Is All are an easy band to sum up and an even easier band to dismiss as a result. If you asked the average Jimmy Williamsburg to pitch the band to you, the answer you’d get would most likely leave something to be desired. Fishing through the murky, shallow ponds of their vocabularies, you’d probably come away with the usual adjectives: everything’s short and quirky and fun and yeah, they’re Swedish but no, they’re definitely not your run-of-the-mill lighthearted indie band despite how vague this all sounds. Then there they’d stand, looking dumbfounded, thinking of ways to describe the band that wouldn’t be as instantly applicable to every other act this side of Belle and Sebastian. Truth is, Love Is All are far more than the sum of heavy-handed generalizations.
They’ve got balls for one thing; where MGMT recently wrote an album begging everyone to take them seriously, Love Is All show a welcomed sense of humour, courageously sampling the endlessly cheesy Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major (presumably with a smirk), of which bears the teary-eyed high school graduation nostalgia of Vitamin D’s hug-fest ‘Friends Forever’ with it, and on the closing track of the record nonetheless, ensuring it’s the very last thing you take away from the album. Not the kind of behaviour you’d expect of your typical Christgau-approved
band but then again, Love Is All are anything but. Vocalist Josephine Olausson is the tipping point for most listeners and is likewise the most forward element of what sets them apart. She radiates with the personality of a firecracker, brimming with childish enthusiasm and yelping with a scattershot inflection most comparable to fellow Swede Karin Dreijer Andersson, only after an hour of eating sugar cubes and on vacation somewhere sunny. She out-squeals even the saxophonist, of whose mission brief seems to be ‘go crazy’ (and who, unfortunately, often finds himself too far back in the mix).
With this third effort, though they’ve traded some of the more raw post-punk elements of their first two records for a little bit of polish, the aesthetic on show is still distinctly theirs. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it and Love Is All excel at the unique brand of up-tempo new wave styled pop they’ve been peddling since the critically-adored Nine Times That Same Song
took everyone by surprise. If the songwriting continues to offer as much variation as the band have proved themselves capable of, juicing this formula for all it’s worth isn’t such a bad idea. The lack of comma in opener “Bigger Bolder” says a lot about what’s to come, with harmonizing guitars, screeching saxophones, and Olausson’s barely-coherent shouts of “There’s no point trying to sound smart / I simply hate every minute that we’re apart” showcasing the band in the finest state we’ve seen them yet. Lead single ‘Kungen’ marches forward with ‘ba-bababa-baaa’ harmonies and a plodding bass riff before shifting it up a gear with an intentionally muddled saxophone solo and hi-hat crashing.
There’s hardly a moment to spare and clocking in at just above 30 minutes, Two Thousand and Ten Injuries is a booster shot of hyperactivity, a constant buzz of energy that would cause even the most prude of foots to tap and the straightest of mouths to curve at their ends. There’s no huge progression of sound from anything they first showcased five years ago but there was never any promise of that anyway. There’s no one else quite like Love Is All and it would be a shame to lose the one we’ve got.