Album: Love and Loathing: A Valentine's Day Compilation
Label: Lujo Records
Length: 23 tracks, 76:57
It’s sometimes difficult to review a compilation disc due to the fact that there are so many different artists involved. The goal of the disc can be two fold. One: It provides a sampling of different bands that the listener may not have heard before. Two: It can, through theme and song selection, carry it’s own cohesiveness and fit together much like a good album. An amazing compilation would do both.
Love and Loathing from Lujo Records was released about a year ago as a Valentine’s Day compilation. From the title alone, I knew I would be in for an interesting ride. I have enjoyed Lujo artists in the past and was excited to see what they brought to the table on this lover’s day mix tape.
There were a lot of songs that stuck out to me as being very memorable. The album is chock full, with 23 tracks and over 70 minutes of music. The fantastic new band, The Dark Romantics appear early in the compilation with their track, Hey Love. I already have a bit of an affinity for the band and this song just continues to impress me. Several bands on the disc were previously unknown to me but bent my ear to the point that I want to find out more about them. One of those bands is The Broadway Hush, who contributes their song, Mr. Valentine. This band has been much touted on the internet but I have yet to get my hands on anything they have done. This song is so sugary sweet and bouncy that I have to wonder if it mimics any of their other work or if it was a special creation for this compilation. Either way, I like it.
Borderline Breathers by Baby Teeth stands out from the rest of the disc for just being strangely different. It starts out with what sounds like a 1930’s chain gang chorus, howling at the moon as they work. It’s got a lot of soul with only an organ backing this vocal prominent song. The following song, for me is the highlight of the entire disc. It’s Nigel Evan Dennis’s banjo inclusive cover of my beloved Starflyer 59’s Next Time Around. It’s a great take on what I view as an indie rock classic. This particular cover is worth the price of the disc. Speaking of covers, this album contains 8 covers of such artists as Richard Swift, Neil Young, Hank Williams, Birthday Party, The Smiths, Nico Stahl, the aforementioned Starflyer 59, and ends with the oddest rendition of Cher’s Live After Love that you are likely to ever hear. I love the beat that Such, Broken Glass used in their cover of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon. It’s danceable without being cheesy.
Overall, the songs on this disc work well as songs of Love and Loathing. Not every song is fantastic, but you’re going to get that with any compilation. With this many artists it takes several listens to fully digest the content but your ears will be rewarded with repeat listens. It seems that something new always jumps out at you with each addition spin. Is Love and Loathing an amazing compilation? No, not amazing. Just really good and worth your time and money.