When the members of Love Is All returned home to Gothenburg, Sweden after their spring 2009 tour, the quintet found itself in familiar surroundings but under strange circumstances. After releasing two critically acclaimed full lengths (Nine Times That Same Song, A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night) and several EPs on New York- based What's Your Rupture?, Love Is All now had no record deal in place -- and accordingly, no demands to produce a new album.
"For the first time in a few years, we were in a situation where nobody expected us to do anything," recalls drummer Markus Grsch. Adds bassist JohanLindwall: "We didn't have a record contract, and we didn't even look for one. Therefore, the record developed completely on our premises and conditions and only because it was fun."
Not knowing whether their next musical output would ever make it out of their iTunes libraries and onto record stores shelves, Love Is All decided to take their time writing and recording and -- gasp! actually have a good time collaborating on the songs that would eventually comprise the band's third album: Two Thousand And Ten Injuries.
And so, what began as trading song ideas back and forth through e-mail, eventually expanded into optional practices (where members would drop by only if they felt like it), and finally culminated in recording sessions at their new home-built studio.
The result is Two Thousand And Ten Injuries -- an eclectic collection of pop melodies, anchored by New Wave and punk rock rhythms, that are as refined as they are unpredictable. Highlights of the 12 track set include the art punk urgency of "Bigger, Bolder," the lilting pop of "Never Now," the Slits-like reggae of "False Pretense" and the classic punk rallying cry found in "Dust." All told, Two Thousand successfully manages to be Love Is All's most adventurous, and dare we say, accessible, album yet.
Accompanied by soundman and co-producer Wyatt Cusick (ex-member of The Aislers Set and Trackstar), Love Is All recorded the album using only an old 24-track analog tape machine -- a method with limitations the band soon learned to view as a virtue.
Instead of relying on a few computer keystrokes to move a drum beat or add another layer to the mix, the group was forced to be more creative in its approach. No longer could the musicians spend hours in the studio arguing over every little detail before making the final edit; now each song had to be envisioned as a whole from the beginning.
"Recording and mixing this album on tape was a new and really inspiring experience," says Josephine Olausson, the group's vocalist and lyricist. "Having to limit the amount of stuff you can add to each song felt really important -- everything is now there for a reason." Grsch agrees, remarking that "computers can be great tools, but they can also make you lose sight of the original, simple, fun song!"
This less is more mentality is evident throughout Two Thousand and Ten Injuries, especially on "Kungen" where infectious, Zombies-esque vocal harmonies buoy the track more than any number of instruments ever could.
Two Thousand And Ten Injuries showcases a band creating music on its own terms for no one but themselves. Luckily for the rest of us, what satisfies Love Is All sounds pretty great to our ears as well.