Love As Laughter – Holy

credit: amoeba.com

Band: Love As Laughter
Album: Holy
Release Date: June 24, 2008

Holy is an album about having important people in your life and keeping them important. It’s about idols, both in the “collecting” of them and the cherishing of them. It’s devotional, and at times hinders on worship.

Take the album’s title track, which seems to play on the idea of blindly believing in something so as to attract the attention of another — either an old lover or maybe a new flame.

Singer-songwriter Sam Jayne says he’d like to be holy, doesn’t think it out of reach, and knows that demons don’t hit the beach… so that’s where he’ll be.

That last bit struck me as odd. Why let us know where he’ll be? Why not just go and wait for what he knows will probably be there? In my mind, he’s letting us know to impress us. Or, to impress someone.

That very idea was the key to the album for me. That unconditional adoration for some big shot. Jayne says it best: “Gimme a cool holy name and I will sing it every day.” Read: Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it.

“Konny and Jim,” which feels like it could be a great bar anthem like “Piano Man” or “Tiny Dancer,” is about that, too.

Jayne says:

I can hear you breathing
I want your breath
I want to travel far
And if I see you leaving
I want to leave too
I’ll help you pack the car

I mean, this dude’s so serious about whatever he’s got going on with this person that he’s ready to uproot himself — in that instant! — if that’s the consensus. No thinking necessary, because the decision’s already made.

A similar theme inhabits “Crosseyed Beautiful Youngunz.” Jayne says he “felt this target you say you never held a whip,” and that it “looks so cool in your grip.” We’re talkin’ about a masochistic relationship here, no?

Jayne is in pain, and may be borderline pitiful at best. He blames the fact that no one showed him where he slipped, and that he’d “really like to love ya, don’t pretend we were wrong.” The idea of losing that which he loves is unbearable to Jayne. He’ll even bear lashes of the whip if that’s what it takes.

Other tunes on Holy are broader, like “Peace.” For a guy like me who’s becoming increasingly simplistic, it was refreshing to hear an honest song about stripping life of conveniences and celebrity — and finding joy in little things.

You know, makin’ that footprint as small as can be.

Jayne says:

Gimme a spot where I can fall down
Gimme a plot in a little town
Gimme a carving on the side of a tree
It’s all the proof I’m gonna need

And:

Gimme a job in a little store
Gimme some knowledge I didn’t know
Gimme four seasons I can feel
Gimme some friendships that are real

I dug the steady pacing of Holy. Four of the album’s 11 tracks run about five minutes or way over it. And much of the music here doesn’t beg to be taken anywhere. These beats take their time.

And the band? Well. Love As Laughter’s got a wonderful, acoustic rock sound. Save for “Paul Revere,” which is too loud for the album and really — stylistically — doesn’t seem to fit, the tracks on Holy are easy on the ears and go down super smooth.

These are mature men with mature lyrics. Had I known about this album earlier than just a bit ago, it would have been high on my best of ’08 list.

Extras:

  • Love As Laughter, based in Brooklyn, is comprised of Sam Jayne, Ivan Berko, Zeke Howard, Andy Macleod and Robbie Lee.
  • The group will perform at Lincoln Hall on September 13 with Jenny and Johnny and Jaill. Tickets are $20. Also, the show’s sold out.

Enjoy this review? Check out other Music Reviews on Chicago Tunes!

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About Eric

Hello there. Email your things to chicagotunes[at]gmail[dot]com.
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