With the buzz surrounding The Love Language's lo-fi, self-titled debut, the bar was set very high for the greatly anticipated sophomore album. With seeming ease, even though it was a lot of work, Stuart McLamb managed to clear that bar with plenty of room to spare on Libraries.
From the opening moments of the lead-off track "Pedals," the music is elevated to new highs, with soaring strings and big arrangements filling the sonic landscape.
The breezy sway of "Summer Dust" is cinematic, conjuring up images of a lazy afternoon, green grass and sunshine. "Heart to Tell" is a pop masterpiece, with as catchy a chorus as you'll hear. The herky-jerky elements of "Antophobia" are reminiscent of classic Kinks.
Each song has its own sound and personality, but they all flow from one to the next. It doesn't feel forced or contrived.
While the sounds on Libraries are much more grand, lush and just simply sound a hell of a lot better than the no-budget style sound of the self-titled album, the charm of that original sound carries through to the new album. The sounds aren't over-polished or glossy and continued embrace of lo-fi guitar tones and vocals add to the character of songs.
It's amazing to think that Libraries is only the second album from The Love Language, since the album leaps so far forward and hits the nail on the head. It's hard to fathom what he'll manage to crank out next, but this album should keep the band busy for quite a while.
The Love Language will play the Cat's Cradle on Saturday, July 17 with The Light Pines and Shit Horse. The band will be joined by Drew Anagnost, Leah Gibson and Jenavieve Varga, best known as the string section of Lost in the Trees, to make the show extra special.