While they have been together for over a decade Love as Laughter’s new record Holy is their first on Isaac Brock’s Epic imprint Glacial Pace. While the group hails from Brooklyn, New York, Holy sounds like it could have come out of the Pacific North West during the early 1990s.

This is not a surprise considering that Love As Laughter were previously signed to Olympia, Washington based label K Records and Seattle, Washington based Sub Pop.  Despite their close connection to that scene, Holy is not a North West punk rock record. Love as Laughter incorporate a range of approaches to their musical production from classic, twangy American rock to the layered production of 1960’s pop records.

The trebly, trembley vocals on tracks such as “Crosseyed Beautiful Youngsters” and “Konny and Jim” recall Brock’s work with Modest Mouse. “Paul Revere” embraces the aggressive, garage rock sound which characterized the band when I first saw them in 1998, while “Baby Shambles” leans more towards the groovy shuffle of T-Rex complete with shouted, pleading vocals.  

While so many different styles may highlight the talents of the musicians and the producer Joe Blaney, it makes for inconsistent listening. The record tries to achieve a bit too much at once, leaving listeners scratching their head as the chaotic, Slavic horn sounds of the last track “Bonnie and Clyde” fade away. Overall, it needs a bit more energy to be wholly satisfying. However, Holy is an intriguing start of this band’s new direction. It will be interesting to see how the songs come across live and where they will take their work next.

Eleanor Whitney is a writer and educator living in Brooklyn, New York. She blogs at http://killerfemme.blogspot.com 

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