Locksley
Be In Love


4.7
superb

Review

by Jom STAFF
June 11th, 2010 | 31 replies | 6,635 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Raucous power-pop with enough antiphony, hand claps, and finger snaps to send you back to the 1970s and 1980s while keeping you firmly planted in the 21st century.

Rhetorical question, but feel free to leave a comment if it behooves you: why do you like the music that you like?

I can't verbalize any concise answer (another rhetorical question: when am I ever concise in anything, given my penchant for long-windedness?), and as you can see already, I cannot in good conscience quantify extremely powerful records (to me, that is) that otherwise might be perceived as average on a 1-5 scale, but I suppose I can provide a short list (please note that if your music has at least one of the following qualifiers, I'll probably think it's the greatest thing ever*):

Familiarity: Locksley - a quartet composed of the brothers Laz (Jesse [guitars, vocals] and Jordan [bass, vocals]), Kai Kennedy [guitars, vocals], and Sam Bair [drums and percussion] - hails from the cheese-crazed state of Wisconsin. Not to perpetuate stereotypes, but from Detroit to Cleveland to Chicago, the Midwest resonates this palpable blue-collar work ethic juxtaposed with a relatively down-to-earth and appreciative demeanor. This same demeanor translates well on Be In Love because the record emanates an air of familiarity to it on multiple levels; for example, imagine a time capsule comprised of sounds from '70s/'80s Americana rock-and-roll interspersed with a punk-meets-Motown energy, and you essentially have the tenets of Locksley's core sound. While comparisons to the Beatles and the Beach Boys are unfair - it seems unlikely that any band will rival these artists' prestige across multiple generations - it is far from unreasonable to suggest that the Wisconsin-based quartet is heavily influenced by the aforementioned artists' moxie and zeal.

As another example, the three vocalists, collectively, have all penned lyrics that won't revolutionize the way we listen to and think about music, but I surmise that that was never their goal, as Be In Love is extremely relatable in scope and sequence. Arguments can be made that writing about tried-and-true topics such as love lost and gained or nostalgia for the past while looking towards the future can be nauseatingly repetitive, but when they're delivered with such bubbly, charismatic charm coupled with loud guitars and raucous percussion, it's easy to immerse yourself sonically.

To continue, tracks like Kai Kennedy-led album highlight "Days of Youth" (with its capoed-at-12 guitar sounding like a ukulele) and Jesse Laz's rollicking "21st Century" tell stories of paying tribute to the past connected to a flair of hope for the future. In the former cut, Kennedy shares a story of a conversation shared with a loved one ("We were walking, we were talking of our wounds that wouldn't heal / And we agreed that just the need for love was something of appeal / . . . Has it really been this long since we were laughing out a song, and our hands still seem to fit, tied tight into the other's grip?") and how such discussion can lead to blossoming new beginnings. Conversely, Laz's bellicose shouts of "And nothing works out, just like the plans we made / And nobody gives it, if you want it, you take / Everything's changing, and that's fine with me" and "Taking the pictures to remember the times when we were young and out-of-line" can bring to mind our own memories of the past when we were growing up. The role of memory appears to be an intriguing, oft-visited idea throughout the record.

While illustrations like these - and others to come later - certainly help substantiate this familiarity proposition, the instrumentation also parallels this thought. While similar acts can sometimes emphasize rhythm over melody, Locksley are able to manage exhibiting control over both. "Love You Too's" simple, yet effective chord progression, "Down For Too Long's" bouncy bass lines, and the complete packages that are "Days of Youth" and "Darling, It's True" all illustrate Locksley's knack for tasteful songwriting. I also believe that Sam Bair is actually a T-Rex trapped in a drummer's body: his strikes are very staccato-like and very loud throughout the record, which adds a certain likability to Locksley's rhythm section. Kennedy is the band's workhorse, whose crafty instrumental prowess throughout Be In Love is matched wonderfully by the Laz brothers' spunk and give-and-take energy.

Antiphony and the "Something-for-Everybody" Effect: Call-and-answer vocal harmonies are abundant throughout Be In Love, and it's without question the record's most redeeming trait because of its ability to invoke a vocal response out of the listener. In so doing, Be In Love makes for an exhilarating listening experience that's augmented by having others around you to join in on the festivities.

For example, "The Whip" is a quintessential example of Locksley's engaging call-and-answer vocalizing. Beginning with basic instructions from Jesse Laz, the listener [purportedly] responds to Jordan Laz's litany of "Whoa-oh-ohh, oh-OHH-oh, whoa-oh-oh-ohs" supported by noisy, syncopated chords, Bair's punchy percussion, and Kennedy's swift guitar licks and feverish solos. The same can be said about the bombastic "One More Minute" and album highlight "Darling, It's True's" chorus: "Darling, something you should (know, know, know) / Hate to, but I have to (go, go, go) / Wish it wasn't, but (oh, oh, oh) it's true (woo-ooh) / Well, I miss you darling, oh (yeah, yeah, yeah) / And I think about you every (night and day) / Forget about you? No (way-ay-ay), girl, I love you!" clearly demonstrates how infectious such simplistic prose can engage any listener. And you can't forget the random "Whoa!," "Wooo!" and "Hey!" shouts that pop up consistently throughout the record.

It's Be In Love's engaging and almost disarming charm that makes the album so easy to listen to, regardless of how well-versed you are in music. Whether you're someone who fears anything not on the Top 40 countdown or you're well-versed in finding new and innovative music across millions of blogs on the Internet, there's an extremely high probability that you will find some element of Be In Love to be an enticing listening affair. To exemplify, Be In Love is the model summer record because of its upbeat tempo and pizzazz, sure, but it's one that you can throw on in the car while you and your friends are roadtripping to the beach for the day. Further, I would argue that this is what Locksley's ultimate goal for Be In Love was: to bring people together to enjoy one another's company to share happy thoughts. They present themselves as the relatively shy guys you know down the street whose entire wardrobe comes from Kohl's, yet they make an effort to see how you're doing and invite you over for barbecues and other social functions while sticking to their classic Fenders. Honestly, it's as if Be In Love recognizes that you and your friends have diverging listening tastes, but aspires to find some commonality, some universally-liked characteristic to link you together... which brings me to this:

Keeping Your Hands Busy: Some of my all-time favorite songs involve making some kind of noise with your hands. For instance, think of the banjo-driven bridge in Porcupine Tree's "Trains" or Violent Femmes' handclap-inducing "Blister in the Sun" or Barenaked Ladies' "Too Little Too Late." I have some inexplicable urge, for whatever reason, to snap and/or clap to musical passages that call for it. I rival this sensation to being at a hockey or baseball game and stomping and clapping to Queen's "We Will Rock You." On Be In Love, you can expect to do a lot of snapping and clapping to complement your call-and-answer vocals on your way to the beach (just, you know, if you're driving, be a little careful not to drum too hard on the steering wheel and accidentally change lanes).

Be In Love's intoxicating magnetism is in its sublimely catchy and absolutely contagious instrumentation and easily-relatable lyricism (even if "I feel like I've heard these sentiments before" pops into your head during songs like "Away From Here" and "It Isn't Love"). I absolutely adore the record's simplicity, its omnipresent energy and charisma, and the staying power of many of Be In Love's songs, despite the album's overall short runtime. Yes, the album isn't groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, the mid-tempo cuts like "Away From Here" and "The World Isn't Waiting" are rather boring, and there might be a movement to generally dismiss the record as homogeneous been-there-heard-that, but I contend that Be In Love's air of familiarity and optimistic outlook make it immensely appealing for the above reasons, coupled with the fact that I could feasibly hear the band say, "So... we got together and wrote some songs about life and stuff, and this is what came out, and we really, really like it, and we really, really hope you do, too. PS: come to our barbecue at the beach this weekend; it will be quality good times because we will probably steal your girlfriends (but just for the day, because we are nice guys and we promise to give them back to you)."

Kennedy describes Locksley - yes, their name is derived from that Locksley - as the "underdog who does his own thing at all times, and we kinda thought that we could be, you know, a little band for everybody." I'm hard-pressed to find a better quotation to summarize Be In Love, and it's essential summer listening, regardless if you're by yourself, with a loved one, or many loved ones.

Understandably, and rightfully so, I don't expect any of you to become sudden proselytes. So why do I like the music I like? Because I think it's awesome. And when a record like Be In Love comes along that I feel an intense personal connection to for a multitude of reasons I elected not to describe here, that's really the only justification I care to provide.

A

Jom recommends:


The Whip
Darling, It's True
Days of Youth
21st Century
Down for Too Long

* Please note my facetiousness in writing this, but I do love me some easily-relatable power-pop with hand claps and finger snaps...



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Rudy K. STAFF (2.5)
"I've found that a hit record is like a stew. All the ingredients have to come together just right. ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2010



15693 Comments


jombalaya

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2010



2595 Comments


Obviously, I'm not flagging this as a default review because I didn't really talk about anything... Rudy's review is far more accurate in terms of general perception, I think... and, just because it's me, in no way should I be taken for gospel.

However, it's a lovely record that I wanted to share an alternate opinion with, so thanks for the opportunity to come back to write.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



17119 Comments


I really wish you'd write more.

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



20825 Comments


"I really wish you'd write more."

x2


qwe3
June 12th 2010



21154 Comments


just got jombombed

and yeah agree with adam and davey

Satellite
June 12th 2010



19888 Comments


Jom, nice avatar. You a Tigers fan?

Digging: The Menzingers - Rented World

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

excellent review jom, although i think i can firmly say this is probably the last album i expected you to review

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



2595 Comments


With every fiber of my being, haha. It's the American pastime for a reason, and it would be remiss of anybody familiar with Mr. Harwell to state that he did not have a profound impact on him/her growing up. He was just so amazing at what he did for so many years, and he was an incredible humanitarian with unrivaled integrity and honor. There needs to be more people like him in Detroit media and less of the Fosters, the Valentis, and the Parkers, who are there just to push an agenda and deride anybody who opposes their opinions, right or wrong.

Rudy: haha, why do you say that? They opened for Butch Walker! I think people are just surprised that I wrote anything at this point, heh. More to come before the month is up.

SeaAnemone
June 12th 2010



18823 Comments


cool question in the review / even cooler 'experiment.' i'm pretty sure I don't wanna know the actual answer though... it'd make those 100 reviews I wrote feel a little meaningless. Oh well... while i don't have a particularly profound answer to your question, i'd have to agree that it basically comes from a multitude of factors that contribute to 'thinking music is awesome" or a deep personal connection.

and yes, while ratings ARE convenient for a quick look at somebody's opinion on the album, they shouldn't be taken so seriously... they should be seen as a loose opinion, and not a concrete one. hell, many of my current ratings are inaccurate due to the fact that my opinions on albums are constantly changing for the most part and I haven't bothered to change most of them. I've seen way too many arguments over, literally, ".5" difference or so in rating- it's a little disheartening.
oh well, fantastic review! it made me think

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i dont know i thought it slipped under the general radar here

also i thought i mentioned this in my review but clearly i didn't, days of youth is easily my favorite song on here

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



2595 Comments


I feel like it did, too, but I really liked what you had to say about the record. After re-reading it after publishing mine, I noticed that I made similar observations you did originally, so I think that that's pretty cool because it substantiates you as a legitimate authority on the record. Honestly, it doesn't take much for me to be made happy by music. I'd suggest that the Polyphonic Spree are medicinal -- goodness, "Hold Me Now" is so stellar.

Eric: I appreciate your feedback and I encourage you not to feel discouraged... it takes me hours, even days to publish things here... I'm fortunate to be able to operate in a Type B mentality because I can take my time and not have to worry about a deadline. Sure, it's about as much fun as a kick in the dick when one of your reviews goes unnoticed after you spent a good chunk of time on or people opt to argue with you over halves of a point (and people are clamoring for quarters of a point now? Seriously? I don't see how that'd help matters, but that's just me), but what can you do?

All you have at the end of the day are your name and your integrity... and that's more than what some people have at the end of theirs.

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

also is this a different cover? i had something different i dk if it was wrong or what

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



14884 Comments


also i like the music i like because i like it. not sure past that

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



2595 Comments


also is this a different cover? i had something different i dk if it was wrong or what


This is the American cover. What you had was the Japanese cover, I reckon. The "new" album art and sleeve art is pretty sweet.

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

ah yeah that makes sense

ant4tbc
June 12th 2010



373 Comments


I've given this a listen and I really want to like this, but so far it hasn't clicked.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2010



2595 Comments


I feel that that will be the case for a lot of people. It's a little too saccharine in some spots but if it never clicks, it's certainly not the end of the world, heh.

Gyromania
June 13th 2010



14653 Comments


Review is awesome. I wish I enjoyed this as much as you, but I think I'm going to have to side with Rudy here

PietroCrespi
June 13th 2010



105 Comments


This isn't as good as their first record (not counting the SFTC demo/record), but still pretty great in my opinion. The first was solid all the way through with only 2-3 forgettable songs and I was into it immediately. This one took me several listens to even get through the later songs.

What I like about Locksley is that even though they have obvious influences like The Beatles, they still feel like a fresh brand of music. I don't know of any other band that creates doo-wop-esque music that still feels fresh and energetic. I think your word moxie is pretty much perfect for this band. They're so much fun to listen to alone/with a girly-friend/with many friends. I saw them live as openers in 2008 and 2009 and they stole the show both times as they got everyone dancing the entire show.

Gyromania
June 13th 2010



14653 Comments


I remember hearing that tune Don't Make Me Wait and I thought it was pretty damn good at the time.



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