It’s been three years since Love Is All released their debut Nine Times The Same Song, but you’d think it’s been three weeks judging by the sounds of things. The drums are a little fatter and there’s a bit more depth to the rest of the band thanks to some updated production. But aside from these minor advancements, there are more similarities to the first than differences, all compressed into an efficient half-hour package of love’s trials and tribulations.
Perhaps the most notable difference is with the way vocalist Josephine Olausson handles the topic. Whereas Nine Times The Same Song celebrates the internal narcotics that love creates, their latest, A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night, works out the harsh realities of it. That empty feeling after the break-up. The bad choices you make during closing time. The resentment you feel when forced to witness couples in their own love haze while you’re solo. And all of this moping is done with Love Is All’s business-as-usual giddiness over a veritable floor of danceable rhythms.
On “Last Choice,” Josephine recounts a party where she’s been ditched by her friend and left to watch the couples leave at the end of the night. “I’m about to be left alone/Now I’m sitting on the sofa on my own” she sings before hooking up with “someone I vaguely know,” in a nightcap of unremarkable sex with her last choice. It’s a moment we’ve all encountered—settling for mediocre companionship rather than going home alone—but Love Is All transcends this embarrassing admission of desperation without any hint of regret and some sweet post-punk ass shaking to boot.
Then there’s “Wishing Well,” hands down one of the best singles from last year and from 1981 (sic). While it’s true that Olausson and company may be doing little more than channeling Poly Styrene through Kiwi-pop melodies, they’re doing it so convincingly and so full of verve that it would be a shame for them to wait another three years before they get around to album number three.