Love Is Allg
15 March 2007
At Cargo on Thursday 15 March, Sweden's Love Is All showed off the frenetic energy and throbbing rock that they've made their name with. While the band claims in its bio that much of its success has been due to luck, it's not mere luck when the late John Peel hears one of your first songs and wants to bring you in for a Peel session, as happened with the band in 2004....
The band's dance-punk/indie-pop (with a saxophone!) mixture had the crowd going strong, as everyone poured towards the stage and away from the bar to flail about in something between a dance and a mosh pit. Which makes sense, really, when listening to music that straddles the line between harmonious and abrasive (but in a good way). It also inspired a particularly amorous couple towards the front to kiss the night away, prompting lead singer Josephine Olausson to point and giggle as she dedicated a song to the oblivious pair.
Musically, Love Is All's live sound is similar to the sound on their records. This has more to do with unique recording methods than lazy performing. Due to technological magic – which I'm not going into because it baffles me – they sound equally fuzzed out in person and on stereo. The one thing that does come off better is Josephine's unique Karen O meets Joanna Newsom voice. Live, its abrasiveness is toned down just a smidgen, leaving her lyrics more intelligible.
At times there's an almost anarchic spirit to Love Is All's performance. There is the sense that they are just trying to throw whatever they can at the audience. Though one thing was made clear: in Love Is All, your instrument is your instrument. Bassist John Lidwell and drummer Markus Görsch experimented with instrument swapping during the encore before Josephine decreed "Never again!" when they took too long getting back to their normal spots. Though Josephine warned the crowd against being too excited for the encore, as they don't save their best songs for it, the songs performed strayed much closer to the punk side of things, and as a result served as a final reminder of this inalienable fact; these Swedes can rock.
- Kevin Garnett