Band of the Day

2012.01.10

The Love Language

Heartfelt, bittersweet love songs built on classic pop arrangements
Hide the children under the dress she wears tonight, and when it slips, she'll sink this ship.
lyrics from Blue Angel

The Love Language is an indie pop/rock band from Raleigh, North Carolina that started as the solo project of singer/guitarist Stuart McLamb. After splitting from his former band The Capulets, and breaking up with his girlfriend, McLamb moved back into his parent's house and began recording music in his bedroom. His first album, 2008's The Love Language, was recorded entirely by McLamb and was released on Bladen County Records. It caught the attention of North Carolina indie rockers, The Rosebuds, who asked McLamb to open for them. A full band was added for the tour, including McLamb's brother, Jordan (percussion/vocals), Missy Thangs (keyboard, vocals), Justin Rodermond (bass, vocals), and BJ Burton (guitar, vocals). The Love Language's second album, Libraries, was released on Merge Records in 2010, and was their first professionally-recorded album.

You don't often hear about the “quarter-life crisis” as a catalyst for great music, but that's exactly what led to the formation of North Carolina's The Love Language. Founding member Stuart McLamb started recording music in his bedroom after going through a particularly rough patch in his mid-twenties: he had just split from his band The Capulets, suffered a terrible breakup with his girlfriend, and had to move back into his parent's house. Turning to music as a coping mechanism, he wrote and self-recorded his entire first album, 2008's The Love Language. Since the album's release, The Love Language has evolved into a full band. Leaving McLamb's bedroom for a proper studio, they recorded and released their second album, Libraries, just two years later. While both albums are built on classic pop arrangements—with heartfelt layers of instrumentation and bittersweet lyrics—Libraries is noticeably more polished in its production. “This Blood Is Our Own” has McLamb effortlessly stretching his vocals from an intimate, melancholic croon to falsetto “oohs,” reminiscent of great singers like Rufus Wainwright. Orchestral layers of strings evolve cinematically, giving the entire song a feel that's grandiose, but beautifully heartfelt. Named after an abnormal fear of flowers, “Anthophobia” is one of those songs that's instantly hummable, even if you've never heard it before in your life. In between a glorious build-up of swelling strings, keys, and percussion, McLamb also sneaks in lyrical references to 60s hits by Tommy James and the Shondells (“Crimson and Clover”) and Donovan (“Hurdy Gurdy Man”). “Horophones” (named after the radio controlled clock invented by Frank Hope-Jones in 1913) is The Love Language's first professionally-recorded song. It's the type of song that you'll want to listen to with a good set of headphones, to pick out all of the intricate textures after every listen. Even more worthy of pressing repeat is the album's stand-out track, “Heart To Tell.” It starts out unassumingly enough, with just a light acoustic guitar riff. Then an army of handclaps and booming bass drum beats make way for a spectacularly catchy chorus. Based on what The Love Language has released so far, we hope we won't have to wait until McLamb's mid-life crisis for the next album.