This Swedish quintet isn’t the second coming of anything; they’re the third and fourth comings of the B-52s, Gang of Four, X-Ray Spex, Roxy Music, Kleenex and Adam and the Ants, with a gauzy, cavernous sound that swirls it all into an appealing, energetic new wave puree. Love Is All swipes so many snatches of post-punk glory that it’s sometimes difficult to remember why its songs sound oh so familiar.
Ex-Girlfrendo members Nicholaus Sparding (vocals, guitar), Josephine Olausson (vocals, keyboards) and Markus Gorsch (drums) joined forces with bassist Johan Lindwall and saxophonist Fredrik Eriksson in 2004, releasing a spate of singles that created enough buzz in the UK to earn them a Peel session and similar hype among US music bloggers. More angular and aggressive than anything Girlfrendo recorded, these early songs are collected on the debut, which could have been recorded in a damp airplane hangar with a single microphone. The mix, a mash of instrumentation punctuated by Olausson’s stabbing chirrups and Eriksson’s punchy, skittering sax, is both a boon and a detriment. It’s certainly distinctive, enlarging the band’s sound with broad strokes, but the mostly excellent songs about love, misanthropy and rejection on Nine Times That Same Song could use more sharpness and clarity. Still, the whole thing is catchy and danceable, even while nicking riffs from odd sources like the Velvet Underground’s “The Murder Mystery” (“Ageing Had Never Been His Friend”) and Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize” (“Busy Doing Nothing”). Love Is All gets anthemic (album highlight “Make Out Fall Out Make Up”) and slow (“Turn the TV Off” and “Turn the Radio Off,” each of which essentially rewrites the other) but is, at heart, a punky disco new wave dance party.
What’s Your Rupture? reissued Nine Times That Same Song as a double-CD mere months after its original release, adding four odds and ends, including a cover of Kim Fowley’s “Motorboat” and a spirited version of Yoko Ono’s “Kiss Kiss Kiss.”