The Love Language – Libraries [Album Review]

by That Guy on July 13, 2010

The Love Language album Libraries, released by Merge Records, 2010.  Cover art is shown.  Free MP3 download

It’s finally here. And it’s phenomenal. The Love Language release their second album, Libraries, on Merge Records today. Honestly, you really don’t need to read any further. Just go out and buy it – it’s that good. I haven’t been this excited about something since the 1991 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue came out.

Stu McLamb, the Love Language frontman and creative force behind the band, first caught our attention a couple years ago with their eponymous debut album. It had a great back story – boy meets girl, boy and girl have a tough break up, boy doesn’t take it well and gets thrown in the slammer, ultimately inspiring him to record a breakthrough album where he plays every instrument and records it all on a $300 recording device. That album was one of HearYa’s top 3 releases of 2009.

Now, they’ve signed to Merge Records, shaken up the band a little bit, and Stu has orchestrated yet another exceptional album – this time recording it in a proper studio with the help of producer, and now Love Language lead guitarist, BJ Burton.

Simply put, an album and band like this are what makes me love music. McLamb is true talent. And on Libraries he’s masterfully juxtaposed beautiful melodies with just the right amount of organized chaos, and infectious 60’s rock n’ roll with hip indie rock. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an album with two opening songs better than the one-two punch of “Pedals” and “Brittany’s Back” on Libraries. Other favorites are “Heart to Tell,” “Horophones,” “Summer Dust,” “Wilmont,” and “Blue Angel.” Yes, I know I just named almost every song.

Their manager, Geoff, was nice enough to send us an advance copy a couple weeks ago and I’ve listened to it more times than I can count. Safariman and I had beers the other night and were gushing over the thing like a couple of 13 year-old girls. Imagine two teenage girls (ugly ones) talking about that vampire movie with the guy with the Cro-Magnon forehead that likes to take his shirt off, except substitute the girls with me and a190-pound bearded man:

Safariman: I love that one song¦Wil-something?

Me: Wilmont? Incredible. I think my favorite is Pedals.


This went on for about an hour. I’ve been too embarrassed to talk to Safariman ever since.

So do yourself a favor and pick up Libraries immediately. You won’t be sorry. It will undoubtedly be one of my favorite albums of the year.

And, you can catch the Love Language touring now and later in the year with other HearYa favorites, Local Natives. Easily the can’t-miss tour of the year. In the meantime, check out some MP3’s.

The Love Language – Heart To Tell

Exclusive: The Love Language – Blue Angel (From the HearYa Live Session)

Video: The Love Language – Blue Angel (HearYa Live Session)

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Shirk July 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm

THIS ALBUM RULES !! I ordered my vinyl LP copy the other day. Eagerly waiting it’s arrival.

Woody July 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Shirk better bring an extra pair of undies to that Local Natives & Love Language show.

Barry July 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Just got it and holy sh#t, the lead tune “Pedals” might be the best song I’ve heard this year…..gotta say this year has been pretty goddam solid so far and we still got 5+ months to go.

SafariMan July 14, 2010 at 8:06 am

Stu McLamb, the Love Language frontman and creative force behind the band…and the signature pseudo-sleeveless shirt with the stretched out neck (as seen in video above). I’ve been trying to pull off this McLamb inspired look around the house for 2 years with very, very limited success. I was brave enough to go out of the house once wearing my McLamb shirt, and felt like everyone I saw was judging me. The guy at the store I went to asked what happened to the neck of my shirt. How Stu pulls it off so effortlessly just adds to his genius. Oh, and great album. I love every song.

Shirk July 15, 2010 at 7:54 am

“Live cannons and loaded guns…” I love the energy in that part of “Pedals”.

Barry July 15, 2010 at 8:47 am

Also, even though the album version of “Blue Angel” is pretty damn good, the one in the Hear Ya Session kicks ass all over it – it has a bit more “oomph” and you can see the looks on the bands faces as they work through it. Great stuff….

Buzzman3535 July 15, 2010 at 10:42 am

So read the review yesterday and with such a strong recommendation felt that I had to go pick up the CD, which I did.

I’ve been through it 1 full time, and I’m working my way through listen #2 today.

First off, I have to disagree with just about every comment here…I thought the back half of that record is much stronger than ther first half. That pedals song didn’t impress me that much and neither did the next song (not looking at the titles). I’m not really sure what super energy or whatever everybody is talking about. they are solid songs, but nothing to get too excited about in my opinion. In fact after about track #4 and #5 i was getting pretty disappointed and about ready to give up on it. Fortunatly I feel the Libraries turns there corner at this point in the record and finishes pretty damn strong. My opinion is that I would give tracks #1-#5 a “B-” and the back half a “B+).

I admit I’m a tough critic, and I can see this record growing on me too….but I have to strongly disagree with “record of the year” calls I have seen on this site.

I don’t want to pollute my review by comparing this band to others…but I think there is value is saying that a record like Brothers by the Black Keys (which I think is right in the middle of their collection quality wise) is far an away a more impressive effort this year than Libraries.

I don’t want to be too negative because like I said, I did enjoy Libraries….but I think we all just need to chill on record of the year calls. In my opinion this is not a record deserving a A grade.

oz July 15, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I agree with Barry on the live session version of Blue Angels. I still love that video. If I’m not mistaken, that song took a few takes and then they nailed it after downing some whiskey shots. Maker’s was it?

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