Fortuna POP!, 2010

There’s something to be admired about bands who make music their parents would’ve cut a rug to in the 60’s while the unschooled musical youth of today stare ahead blankly. With the 80’s becoming more and more Year Zero for the modern music fan, the 60’s pop revivalists stand frustrated, still waiting for their turn. After 10+ years, 3 albums and numerous line-up changes, London’s The Loves have seen the writing on the wall, giving it pole position on their swan song album with “WTF or How I Realised I Wasted My Life”.

Such an admission by band leader Simon Love shouldn’t be counted against him. …Love You is The Love’s finest (half) hour, full of ups and downs and acid flashbacks, changing gears quicker than a party girl changes her dress. As overbearing as these ‘party album short of a party’ records can sometimes be, it quickly becomes impossible to back away from. Least of all the freakbeat stomp of “Bubblegum” that hides a dirty mouth in its sugar coating, giving us some serious scatological “did he really say that?” pause for thought during the doo-wap outro.

A choice cover of Nathaniel Mayer’s 1966 soul single “I Want Love And Affection (Not The House Of Correction)” shakes the roof and swings like a motherfucker, but in all fairness to the boys, it’s the Loves ladies that steal the show, with guest vocalist Mindy from American band Still Flyin’ who turns “O! My Gawd” into a Nuggets-bursting free-form rap with a “Blue Monday” break. It’s one of those confusing musical moments that actually works in spite of itself, much like whistle solos in pop songs (see “I Lost My Doll To Rock & Roll”). With its piano flourishes and harmonies, “December Boy” rises to ABBA levels of pop perfection that make you wonder what did The Loves do wrong? (The answer already covered in the first paragraph).

Even with The Velvet Underground’s Doug Yule randomly providing the voice of Jesus’ answer-phone, the depressing/self-deprecating humour (“another draggy hand-clap over another draggy beat/it’s been the style of us all along”) of “It’s… The End Of The World” turns into an oddly uplifting singalong moment worthy of closing the book on the band. They needn’t be too hard on themselves. The Loves want to kid you that they don’t care, but you can’t fake something like this. As great last rock n’ roll statements go, …Love You is up there with the best.