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Love Language is new, innovative ’60s rock

by Heather MacIntyre

Band of the Week: Love Language

Label: Unsigned


The name started as an inside joke between one of the members and his ex-girlfriend. At first, they were worried that it might be too corny, like a cheesy r&b group from the 80s. “But the more songs I wrote, the better it fit,” admits Stuart McLamb, the front man and creator of the Love Language, “So we just kept it.”

McLamb started writing music through the heartbreak period immediately following the breakup, recording on his own, one track and instrument at a time. “Before I knew it, I had an album,” he says. The record caught the attention of Merge recording artists the Rosebuds (myspace.com/therosebuds), who wanted this “band” to open up for a show of theirs. Immediately, Stuart had to start making calls to throw together a group to perform at the show. So he started dialing numbers – Jordan McLamb, Jeff Chapple, Missy Thangs, Josh Pope, Tom Simpson and Kate Thompson – and then they were the Love Language. All members are currently spread out over North Carolina, a few in Raleigh, Wilmington, and one of their keyboard/vocalists resides in Greensboro (Thangs, also the singer/songwriter of a triangle band called Soft Company (myspace.com/softcompany).

The Love Language is perfect for anyone looking for something new and innovative, yet possessing a classic ’60s pop rock feel to reminisce with the “peace & love” era. I’m feeling a light, blended smoothie of the Strokes (rhythm and tone), a dash of the Magnetic Fields and a heavy serving of the Walkmen – but more oomph. With the percussion-meddling beats mixed with keyboards, guitars, pianos and tambourine, I think it’s relatively obvious (and fortunate) that McLamb was really into exploring bands like the Beatles and the Kinks, along with some Motown, classic girl groups and other soul records during the recording of his record (Sidenote: you can purchase this self-titled album on snowcap.com). Be ready for more rock than pop to come – they have scheduled more writing and recording, with plans for a lot more guitar than keys, and an overall psychedelic feel for the future of their music. But don’t fear change: I have a feeling you can count on it being just as promising as their current tunes. Though the band isn’t signed yet, I wouldn’t doubt it will catch the ear of a few labels, depending upon the take of this next album.

When it comes to writing music, it’s not just a jam-session-until-something-sounds-good process like most unorganized bands that are trying to force something together. McLamb is intricate in idea and detail, one foot in front of the other, without skipping steps, “I write compositions in my head and then record them, usually alone, and add lyrics last [though they are important].” Currently inspiring the group today: Nirvana’s In Utero, Leonard Cohen and David Bowie. But what about locally? The band suggests everyone checking out the Light Pines (myspace.com/lightpines), their current NC band of preference lately – did I mention three of the members (Pope, Simpson and Thompson) might be involved in this group as well? Dig it.

Their next show in reasonable proximity is Friday in Chapel Hill at the Local 506 (local506.com) featuring Thao with the Get Down Stay Down (myspace.com/thaomusic) who will just be finishing up their leg of the Rilo Kiley tour (see this week’s show review!). I doubt that we’ll have to wait too long before they come back to the triad, as the band’s favorite NC spot is, “hands down”, Winston-Salem’s Werehouse (myspace.com/werehouse).

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