“Three” is the 3rd (duh) LP offering from THE LOVES
Recorded between August 2007 & February 2008 at Soup in London & Battery Studios in Brooklyn, “Three” sees THE LOVES almost maturing. Not much though. Most of the songs are still about girls. Except for the one about Coca-Cola.
Says head Love, Simon- “The basis of the record was recorded over 4 days in August with myself & Rob Jones (our long-term temp drummer) playing live together at Soup. Those sounded ace by themselves & then we started throwing everything & the kitchen sink on as overdubs”. Overdubs including an alarm clock on LP closer (or is it?) “WAITING FOR TOMORROW” & a synth battle between ex-Hefner frontman Darren Hayman & THE LOVES’ keyboardist The Ed in the suite-like song, “KALEIDOSCOPE (IN MY HEAD)”
Part of the recording was done in Brooklyn in January 2008. “We know a few people over there & they asked us if we’d like to record some bits for the LP with them so we went over & did “THE EX-GURLFRIEND” with them & a few extra odds & ends” says Simon.
When asked about the influences present in this LP Simon said- “The usual bubblegum pop bollocks, but specifically, Boyce & Hart, The Who, The Flaming Lips & Bob Markley’s “A Group” LP”.
The aforementioned “ODE TO COCA-COLA” is a love song to everyone’s favourite drink. It’s not wholly a ‘Thumbs-up-for Coke’ song though. “There are a few of the more negative sides to drinking it in there” says the group’s spokesperson, Ziggy Rodriguez. There’s also a loop of noise made with Coke bottles & cans that introduces the song like a cut-price version of Pink Floyd’s “Money”.
“SWEET SISTER DELIA” is a song dedicated to the doyen of the London indie scene & Artrocker correspondent- Miss Delia Dansette. “We always stay at her house when we’re in London so I thought we’d show her our gratitude with a song…I’m sure she’d have preferred money or booze or something though”
The (almost) power ballad “EVERYBODY IS IN LOVE” is the song that the group tried to get Robyn Hitchcock to narrate. “We emailed him but got a polite “Thank-you-no-good-luck” reply” Bastard.
Jenna Love gets to show off her pipes on “CAN YOU FEEL MY HEART BEAT?” a sweary bluesy swaggering song about lust & its effects.
“3” also includes “YOU DON’T HAVE TO” a cover of an obscure bubblegum song originally performed by The Beeds & THE LOVES’ last “hit” single “ONE-TWO-THREE”.
"Three makes a good case for Simon Stone’s canonisation as a bubblegum-pop saint. He has the obscurist fanaticism of St Etienne's Wiggs and Stanley, the same left-field pop-savvy as Kevin Barnes, some of the archness but none of the irony of Neil Tennant; and like them all, he can conjure up a tune catchier than nits in a nursery class.
As with any candidate for sainthood, the church of pop demands evidence and Three has it in abundance. 'One-Two-Three' is ridiculously catchy glam pop with a stomping beat and cleverly dumb words that could be a boiled down summation of the pop lyrics of the last 30 years. And why 'Love Song #7', with its girl-group inflection and summery caress, wasn’t our Eurovision entry I don’t know as it would have been irresistible to all but the coldest eastern European hearts. If that’s not enough, 'Sweet Sister Delia' hymns the queen of indie-London with supercharged rock’n’roll transplanted straight from the MC5’s second album while 'Kaleidoscope in My Head' could be four great songs in one: inspired by synasthesia, it moves from colour-obsessed playground chant to spiky pop, to heartbreakingly melodic country-rock and finally Delia Derbyshire-esque space age psych-pop - this is a case of clever components mixed into a genius cocktail over five minutes. Although 'You Don't Have To' is a cover, (an obscure late-60s song by the Beeds), it not only represents Jenna’s finest singing moment, but also has a soaring Elephant 6 lushness too. This pop is nothing like po-faced; there’s a lighter-hearted element reflecting Simon’s other pastime as comedy writer; ‘Ode to Coca-Cola’ is sweet as the full-sugar version but won’t please the evil corporation with its balanced approach - “my friend the dentist tells me time after time/ that milk is better for me” - while the hidden track ‘Tom Waits for no Man’ mimics a scratchy, growly 1920s blues 78.
Three combines the bubblegum lo-fi pop of the eponymous first album with the 60s-styled psych-pop of its follow-up, Technicolour, to create a perfect blend of the Monkees and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band; proof that, where pop is concerned, all you need is Loves."
"Even with, or perhaps because of, the limitless possibilities of the Internet and the seemingly endless recommendations from the blogosphere, artists can tend to drop through the net. Take The Loves, who released their third album, the unimaginatively-titled Three, in May of this year to the glee of no-one in particular. In such situations, Wikipedia is the enterprising hack’s friend although we all know it isn’t exactly the most reliable of sources (either that, or the climate of Colombia actually is perfect for growing moon rocks).
The other problem with Wikipedia is that the pages for musicians tend to be written by obsessive fanboys since they’re the only people prepared to devote the necessary time to maintaining such a repository of information. So, it seems odd that the Wikipedia page for The Loves is - at the time of writing - hardly full of glowing praise. The Loves’ début album (Love) “attracted generally hostile press” and the band themselves have suffered “criticism from many reviewers and people in the music industry.” Be still, my beating heart…
Before even listening to Three, it’s already facing an uphill battle and you might want to bring your Big Book of 60s Influences along with you for when you press Play on the CD player. Be warned though, chances are you’ll contract cramp from furious ticking. The Loves do not seem to have one original idea between them, veering from hippie-pastiche to swirling-keyboard pop with little regard for invention. Perhaps more frustratingly though, is the deadpan delivery of the lyrics, suggesting an in-joke that you’re just not enough of a hipster to be party to.
And you know what? It’s absolutely brilliant.
No, really, it is. It may not be flawless and the constrained vocals can grate but the majority of Three is executed with enough knowledge and respect that it’s a worthy homage to its myriad influences. As a short-hand to describe the sound, imagine The Dandy Warhols, except… uh… well… good.
Opener One-Two-Three is irresistible rock and roll which pilfers the chorus from The Jackson Five’s ABC, Kaleidoscope (In My Head) races around like a marginally more focused Architecture in Helsinki, and Sweet Sister Delia is a power pop classic in the making. Despite the lack of originality, the melodies and the quality of the songwriting is so strong that its possible lack of artistic merit hardly seems to matter.
That’s a pretty controversial statement in some quarters but when all’s said and done, you like what you like and that’s how it should be. The concept of “guilty pleasures” shouldn’t even exist; it’s a creation of the indier-than-thou tastemakers but if you enjoy a piece of music, why feel guilty about it? No-one in the music world seems to be prepared to go out on a limb and say than anything Thom Yorke puts his name to is less than perfect or recognise just how fantastic a song Toxic by Britney Spears really is. So, if you can maybe abandon your principles a little, there’s a gem of an album in store for you.
Of course, there are downsides to Three: the main example being the cloying Everybody is in Love which strays so far into relaxed, it ends up with its feet in the next camp: comatose. Ode to Coca-Cola is as ill-advised as its title suggests and no-one wants to hear a song featuring burping as percussion.
Worth the admission price alone, however, is the penultimate track: Can You Feel My Heart Beat? Over a palpitating drum beat, a sparse Hammond organ plays a simple hook and female vocalist Jenna purrs her way through a seductive call to arms. It’s an effective track given room to breathe and has just the right amount of momentum to take it from one phrase to the next. You’ll wish you were the subject of Can You Feel My Heart Beat?, providing you don’t mind being described as “a motherfucking sweet-as-fuck panic attack” (and let’s face it, no sane person could object).
Not everybody can be as groundbreaking and inventive as Aphex Twin, but then again, you wouldn’t want everybody to be. If you can concentrate on what’s important - the actual songs - then you might just find one of the great underappreciated albums of the year. If that ends up being the case, maybe you could edit The Loves’ Wikipedia page; it could certainly do with some, well, love.
"The Loves are the sort of band that aren’t anyone’s idea of unit shifters but you’re quite glad exist. Essentially the Cardiff collective’s schtick is playing radio hits from 1968-1974, ranging from bubblegum pop to raw acid garage to anything that comes to mind, and having worked their way through nearly thirty members, four Peel sessions and many enthralling support slots on the London proper indie circuit, they’ve honed their particular craft to a fault.
On this – hey! – third album, various friends pop by – Darren Hayman, Rob Jones of The Voluntary Butler Scheme and, curiously, Harry Hill’s TV Burp writer Daniel Maier – but it’s still very much the sound of a group of close associates having fun with their well thumbed vinyl collections. That’s especially true when they let go on songs like ‘Kaleidoscope (In My Head)’, which careers to and forth from psych-garage to cheerleader chorus to Donovan-like mellow passages to acid rock as Simon and Jenna exchange love odes about synaethesia. That they can carry it off without losing focus is quite something. That they can carry off a song longer than three minutes is almost as noteworthy, given their usual stomping ground is more like the trad glam stomp of ‘One-Two-Three’ or ‘The Ex-Gurlfriend’, on which Simon sounds oddly like Bobby Gillespie over cocksure three chord rock straight from the British Invasion.
And onwards it goes. You’ll hear the obviously retro references – T-Rex, girl groups, the Kinks, the Who, the Apples In Stereo, any number of half forgotten late 60s hits – a mile off but the renovation job on the melodies, vocal play-offs and even the delicacy of the slower songs is done with such love and attention to detail. Three won’t change anyone’s life, but for its forty minutes it’s a whole heap of bubblegum pop fun."
(The Line Of Best Fit)
"Perhaps better and a most likely contestant to Lacrosse is the new offering from the long loved The Loves, inventively entitled Three, this is the Loves third album to date and perhaps their strongest, if not their strongest, it certainly contains some of their best songs to date.
Ode to Coca Cola and Sweet Sister Delia are fine lessons in the art of writing a pop song, and yes I of all people am always interested in hearing something new and love the idea of stretching music to it's limits but you can rarely beat good old pop, and if that means stealing parts from elsewhere then please do go help yourself. If it ain't broke...
A little bit TRex, a little bit Beach Boys, a little bit fantastic. Both previous downloadle singles, One Two Three and the Ex-Gurlfriend feature and are lovely to hear once again along with the aforementioned favourites and the quite wonderful two and half minutes of pop perfection of You Don't Have To.
One for the appreciative few to wind down the windows, open the sunroof and drive steadily, bopping your head much to the chagrin of confused fellow drivers.
Put simply, i love The Loves and really you should too."
(I’d Rather Be Fat Than Confused)
"The Loves are back with their, yes you guessed it, third album. One-Two-Three starts it off and sounds like a Gary Glitter tune done by a particularly slouchy bubblegum band. It’s pretty fun as you might imagine. After the shouty opening of Kaleidoscope, it settles down into a blissful alt country stroll. It then speeds up, slows down to a woozy waltz and finds a million points inbetween. The Ex-Gurlfriend reminds me of oh so cool, slightly sleazy New York rock, with a little Teenage Fanclub thrown in for good measure. Everybody Is In Love is a slouchy slow rocker, reminding me of a blissfully stoned Big Star. Ode To Coca-Cola is Redd Kross, low slung slacker pop while Sweet Sister Delia, is Jonathan Richman and the rock n roll world. Can You Feel My Heart Beat? Is a sassy torch song, with very sultry female vocals. Waiting For Tomorrow wraps the album up and is like some Velvet Underground experiment, starting off psychedelic and then barrelling into a rolling pub knees up."
"The Loves return with their third album as you may have guessed from the rather simply titled Three. It’s been suggested that it’s the bands best yet, but having not heard the other two I don’t have the benefit of those comparison points.
Three has a a lot going for it and aside from a couple of wayward tracks where they miss the mark, it’s a really good, if slightly nostalgic listen as they take you on a journey through a lot of what was good about music in the 60’s, mixed with a lo-fi pop sensibility of someone like Helen Love.
My favourite track on here is the sweeping girl pop of Love Song #7, it’s only 2 minutes 20 seconds in length but it’s perfectly formed and instantly likeable. Elsewhere on here I really love Waiting For Tomorrow with it’s jaunty keyboard and Kaleidoscope (In My Head), while it is a touch ambitious with it’s Northern Soul influences subsiding to make way for what feels like a mini space opera, again you can’t help but admire and like it.
Ode To Coca-Cola is as bad as the title suggests if you are looking for songs that don’t work and a couple (You Don’t Have To and Everybody Is In Love) of the others don’t leave much of an impression, that aside though it’s a fun and catchy ride of an album that wears it’s 60’s heart on it’s sleeve."
(The Beat Surrender)