vrijdag 26 oktober 2018

Heartbreak Hi. The LVE

My introduction with The LVE went through one song only, 'Love, When You Don't Want It'. The kind of song that had an immediate impact on me. The kind that never goes away. It touched me deep inside. Nothing The LVE played and sang since came close, but then, hey, hardly any other song did either.

After the full length debut album 'The LVE' things became quiet. The record label the band was on folded. Until this spring. I received a sign of life, the new single 'Go Bad With You'. It was instantly pleasing. Followed by a show in late September in Scheveningen and now, finally, the new EP, Heartbreak Hi. A high school for broken hearts and a broken tea mug as a metaphor for all the break ups we endure in life.

The cover of Heartbreak Hi, beautiful artwork by bass player Rienk Machielsen, is a metaphor for the love we all can feel for something that is broken or has gone away, has lost its ease of use, but still remains dear to our hearts. Whether about things, pets or humans, memories remain with us until that final moment, colouring and tainting our lives in the spot no one else sees. In that sense every man is an island. Just like this broken mug. It also stands for all The LVE is. I refrain from further repeating myself here, it is all over this blog. Go and use the search spot of this blog above if you like to find out more.

Now what can a band do when it has produced one of the most beautiful songs of the 10s? The answer to that answer is provided on this EP. Write a song like 'Sad Song'. Opening song 'Sad Song' is such a beautiful track. Like the artwork 'Sad Song' is the bare essence of The LVE: "I'm like a sad, sad song ... I like, I'm like the moody shit I write". The band can not present itself any clearer. The mood is subdued, of course slightly sad, melancholy on the brink of the past and future called the present. Just listen how well this song is arranged, how the singing between Gerrit van Dyck en Sara Raes complement each other. The whole song is an example of incredibly good taste, while baring teeth Mackie Messer would have been proud of. If anything Sad Song is the example of the growth The LVE has gone through since 'The LVE' album. From the muted guitar strings, the softly, rhythmic plopping away bass to the reverb on the lead guitar. It all sounds fairly elementary, yet the combination is a complete winner.

'Letters' shows what a great chorus The LVE is able to write and sing together. Again all the details in the song jump out to me. The guitar sound, the keyboard and electronic sounds, the supportive rhythm section all are there to support the song. In the mix all are given their right place and moment to shine. Spaciously so with room for all in the band. 'Letters' is the most poppy song of the album, yet has its little edges.

The title song again opens with a modest moment of beauty. Just a small opening solo. The rhythm comes from a box. Synths provide a bottom in the sound all else can float on. The mood just spells The LVE.

'Go Bad With You' has been written on extensively this spring. Let me add that all these months later the song totally holds up and adorns this album like the beautiful musical flower the song is.

Somehow this album is more electronic. I know this not to be true, but it has that feel. It has an 80s vibe, while having so much melody in each song, the past stars of 80s electronic music are still dreaming of attaining, without ever having come close. An explanation may be that this EP album sounds better, clearer. Or simply has more details. Take the synthesizer solo in 'Slo-Mo' (and the way the whole song develops itself) it is sophisticated and comes alive in an icy kind of way. As if all decorum is held up, while inside things are boiling over. Or the guitar solo preceding the synth, it is the only guitar solo I know that disappears while playing, making room for the other instrument. Exactly what I see the band do on stage. Happy to provide the place for each member to shine in turns. 'Slo-Mo' holds another hint at the nostalgia that permeates Heartbreak Hi.

"I've got dreams and memories forever with me", sing Gerrit and Sara in 'Dream & Memories', the closing song. Again that mix of melancholy and modern electronics. Soft, gentle and caring.

The LVE is back with an album to truly cherish. An album not of these hectic times, yet all everyone needs to unwind. So people, if you check out only one album this year by a band you have never heard of, this is the one.

And those wondering who is quoted on the back of the EP, yes, it's


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