steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Graves

"Love Love Love" CD


Genres: indie pop, indie rock, lo-fi pop

PO Box 14414
Portland, OR
97293 USA

Feb 10 - 16 2003

You may remember a year ago when I reviewed the FILMguerrero label's last release, The Transmissionary Six's self-titled debut.  I was  extremely impressed with the album, and as a result I didn't hold back with my compliments at all.

So when I got this juicy little CD in the mail, I was thrilled.  Boasting one of the nicest album covers I've seen  in a long time, the fifteen-track Love Love Love looked to be an absolute pop gem.

One spin in the CD player and my predictions had been validated.  Not only is Love Love Love an instantly satisfying pop release, but it is also a very rewarding album.  On top of the delectable melodies that we've all come to love, these fifteen songs also manage to present a wide array of interesting concepts and beautiful atmospheres.

Incorporating a lo-fi pop ethic (in the K Records vein), The Graves (aka Greg Olin) craft elegant, smooth tunes that work their way into your humming repertoire flawlessly.  The first track, "The (209)," is a fine example.  Using a simple guitar/bass/drums/vocals base and some well-placed trumpets in the background, the track plods along like a nice walk in a park, except with a pleasant twilight-y atmosphere.  The mood is decidedly elegant, except pleasingly warm and personal as well - a similar sort of charm that made everyone fall in love with Badly Drawn Boy's The Hour of Bewilderbeast three years back.

And that's not all The Graves (another one-man band using a plural name - The Microphones, anyone?) can do.  In fact, this album is packed to the brim with quality music - there isn't a single mediocre track on here.  "Evil Is You" recalls that wonderfully catchy Cousteau song ("The Last Good Day Of The Year"), "Suburban Girls" calls to mind Sparklehorse's delicate pop (think "It's A Wonderful Life"), and "How To Fake an Indian Summer" is that alt-country tinged track that stays in the back of your head for weeks.  And that isn't to mention the deliciously offbeat harmonic chorus of "Dark Hair Is Cool Too," one of the album's best pieces.

When all's said and done, The Graves' Love Love Love gets a strong recommendation from me - it's one of the most truly catchy pop albums I've heard in a long time.


Fun Fact: Love Love Love has a surprisingly star-studded cast.  Karl Blau plays horns on many of the tracks, and Little Wings-er Kyle Field also plays bass and sings.  Other helpers include Jona Bechtolt (Badger King), Rob Keiswetter (Bobby Birdman), Rachel Blumberg (Norfolk and Western, Decemberists), and Adam Selzer (Norfolk and Western).

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 15 songs, distributed by the label, released 2003]