Album review

The Loves : Love
Track & Field

The Loves : LoveThe Loves would love to be a post-modern, doubly ironic rethinking of the B-52's. Or a loved-up, touchy-feely girls-can-play-too take on The Coral. Or perhaps a more budget-friendly version of The Polyphonic Spree. Sadly, dealing in retro-chic requires either humour or glamour, and judging by both the music and the covert images, this Cardiff six-piece are pretty short on both.
    They've done their homework, sure - there are nods to every bunch of West Coast lovebundles from Arthur Lee and co to Strawberry Alarm Clock, and a few attempts at UK guitar snarl a la The Who and The Kinks, though they never get close to emulating the kind of reference points cited by the record company; notably The Stooges or The Shangri-Las. They’re too tame, too silly, too downright Britishly amateur to get away with that kind of attitude, and what must go down a riot at private parties doesn't really cut it in the marketplace. They bounce and jangle their way through their 14 cheerfully empty-headed songs, and then they go away and sleep it off.

In the end though, trashing this kind of effort feels uncomfortably like kicking a puppy for sniffing a turd. The '60s were a powerful era, full of lost dreams and alluring half-truths, and every new post rock 'n' roll generation has to rediscover what they mean. To Simon, Liz, James, Pdnosni, Dave and Carin, the whole era must seem like an Aladdin's cave to be relentlessly plundered. But like past '60s appropriators Kula Shaker and Oasis, they’ll learn that in the end, you have to face forwards if you’re going to get anywhere without falling flat on your arse.

:: Clare O'Brien

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