Love as Laughter Holy

[Glacial Pace; 2008]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: classic rock
Others: Steve Miller Band, Stephen Malkmus, Luna

It’s Memorial Day and I’m cleaning out my apartment in preparation of my move next weekend. I actually kinda like moving, especially easy moves -- I’m just moving across the street here in Brooklyn. The weather is gorgeous, and although I’m inside, both Love as Laughter and I are benefiting from the circumstances. It’s no coincidence that Holy is dropping in June, just as we enter classic rock season: prime time for the official soundtrack of strip-cruises and barbecues everywhere.

Holy is the decade-old band’s sixth record and picks up where 2005’s Laughter’s Fifth left off, a label switch from Sub Pop to Isaac Brock’s Glacial Pace label notwithstanding. LAL are certainly mellowing with age; barnstormers like Sea to Shining Sea’s “Temptation Island” are long gone, and while I miss the band’s straight-ahead rock tunes, Jayne & co. have honed their laid-back classic rock sound to charming effect. “Holy” is a punchy sing-a-long, and “Konny & Jim” is a good-vibes stretch-out tune, but with enough of an edge to keep things rolling.

Like all of Love as Laughter’s albums, it’s tempting to fawn when the good numbers are so good. But like Laughter’s Fifth, Holy is uneven. The record’s middle is the culprit here, with a trio of songs including the Paul Simon-esque, bongo-laden “All Parts of Me” and the overlong, relatively bland “Don’t Worry Baby.” When the band find their sea legs again on the heavier “Peace,” it’s all the more puzzling, as even Jayne seems like he’s having more fun cutting loose. This time, too, the band ends with a bang with the sassy “Bonnie & Clyde.”

Who knows if I’ll still be listening to Holy when the leaves turn, but it’ll certainly get some heavy rotation this summer. Time to check the listings and see if the band’s playing anything outdoors.

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