Like many great and horrible things, the Love Language was conceived in the midst of a post-breakup drinking binge. While frontman Stuart McLamb has probably recovered from the heartbreak that initially drove him to write songs in his parents' basement, he still writes and performs with the vigor and attitude of a man living on the cusp of a mental breakdown.
Combining elements of pop and garage rock, the newest album from McLamb and Company carries the emotional candor of a deeply personal diary. Dirty, grungy guitar riffs move the record along, forcing the listener to bask in the beautiful distortion of McLamb's musical narrative. The Love Language gives heartbreak a poppy flair, combining elements of absolute joy with riffs full of angst.
All of the emotion that makes "Ruby Red" so beautiful becomes a little more pronounced in this Live at KDHX session. The band led things off with a chilled out vibe, playing through "Hi Life" before plunging into the more forceful "Calm Down" and concluding with "Pilot Light."
The spontaneity of the set captures all of the humanness of McLamb's music in a way that the record never quite represents. The drums crash just a little bit harder, the hum of the distortion peddle rings just a little bit dirtier.
Crank the volume, wake up the neighbors and listen up! This isn't the kind of set that should be limited to background music.