Produced by North Carolina’s Merge Records, Stuart McLamb has taken The Love Language from devastating heartbreak, into the freshness of a new romance (and heavier guitar riffs), to a place of soulful remembrance. That’s not to say the classic sound of love pop that can feel your pain has lost any momentum in the newest release, Ruby Red. This time, its just not as jangly and raw.
I’ve been following this band since the 2009 release of their self-titled EP, and even met NPR’s Bob Boylan at one of their shows on the 2010 Libraries tour, so I was pretty excited to hear of the new album due out July 23. This time we get a kick right out of the gates with first single “Calm Down”, and as the lyrics imply, there’s no letting us calm down now. We still get the familiar keys, drifting guitar, and high tambourine, but as this album was recorded in a small house in the middle of the Appalachia (Black Mountain, NC to be exact), there’s more a sense of songwriting on the porch than the mad rush you get from a recording studio. That feeling coupled with an expansive – and impressive – 20-piece contributing band makes the newest album work so well.
The folks at Merge akin it to “an extroverted community art project made by responsible citizens of a loosely packed scene who know that McLamb will match whatever they contribute.” If we are through the heartbreak and on to the fun part, this album’s a great way to recover from anything that ails ya. Put it on and take a long drive to nowhere.
The Love Language: Ruby Red, $12.98, mergerecords.com.