album reviews

Love Is All
A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night
What's Your Rupture? (2009)

Both precious and abrasive, Love Is All's "A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night" maintains the energy and frenzy that helped the Swedish quintet generate so much buzz with its debut recording three years ago. At their core, the group's songs are just pop tunes played at a frantic pace, with Josephine Olausson's shrill vocals singing catchy, if sometimes tuneless melodies atop arrangements that are equal parts New Wave and post-punk.

Although that four-piece instrumentation often careers at a runaway pace ("Movie Romance" seems to accelerate for the song's 2 1/2 -minute duration), the group's real charm is Olausson herself. Sure, she often veers off-key, but staying on pitch hardly matters when it's her vigor at center stage: the frenzied singalong "Last Choice," the repeated yelps of "if you mind your business, I'll mind mine" on "Rumours" and the saucy duet with guitarist Nicholaus Sparding on "A More Uncertain Future." With all that energy, it's easy to see how there might be more than a hundred things keeping her up at night -- and whether they are the items she lists in "Big Bangs, Black Holes, Meteorites" or just the quandary of being stuck with the undesirable guy left at the end of the party ("Last Choice"), there's no doubt that Olausson will always find a way to emerge on top.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 5 December 2008, Page WE07
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