PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Laura Love: You Ain't Got No Easter Clothes

Jason MacNeil

Laura Love

You Ain't Got No Easter Clothes

Label: Koch
US Release Date: 2004-07-27
UK Release Date: Available as import

Laura Love has a book to coincide with this album of the same name. It's a release that some people might suspect as being just a tad too cute or perfect, especially given that similar releases end up being spread too thin, resulting in a poor book and awful record. But this musician manages for the most part to offer up a nice mix of folk that brings to mind Victoria Williams without the extremely quirky and eclectic delivery. This sound is quite apparent on the rudimentary folk opener "Good Enough", which is definitely good enough. From the simple guitar strumming, Love has a waver in her voice that isn't the defining trait but a nice complement. "My friend and I we go a long way back / I could do worse than to be like they are," she sings while a dobro is brought in.

Love grew up as a poor child in Nebraska, and Nebraska colors most of the material on the album. "Homage to Omaha" is more in line with a sparse Lucinda Williams or Emmylou Harris attempt. The darker groove and gloomy arrangement revolves around Love's presentation, which also could be mistaken for a Rickie Lee Jones technique. The distant harmonies are another plus, while the drums are just above a whisper, the brushing only giving it more character. The strength of the record is Love's early songs, especially the Dolly Parton-esque "Ain't No Power" that glides along to near perfection. Whether it's the military drumbeat reining things in or the melody that surpasses the clichéd protest chants used as lyrical content. It loses its steam as this refrain goes on perhaps a half-minute too long.

Love goes down a road best left for Tom Waits during the vaudeville jazz quirk of "Freak Flag" which discusses doing everything you can to be different, be it genital piercing or tattooing. The sultry vibe grows on the listener but it's still a rather arduous tune to get through given how better the previous numbers come off. The funky and worldly sound of "Oh Safonda" is another veering track that moves into new territory with average results. Canadians might recognize the sound as something '80s pop band the Parachute Club did circa "Rise Up". The light island flavor is its only saving grace.

When Love decides to go into the light folk or pop mold, the payoff is great, especially on the title track, which has a certain '70s AM radio manner to it in the vein of people like Juice Newton or Linda Ronstandt. Perhaps the sleeper pick might be "It's Always Fall" as Love gives a haunting performance with delayed harmonies in the background, resulting in a quaint give and take, dreamy Celtic lullaby song much like something by the October Project. It's this up and down nature to the album that doesn't make it mesh in spots, especially after the slow and at times boring "In Lincoln", something that James Taylor might think is hip but basically nobody else. Love keeps searching for the heart of the song by moving into a jazz and then slow funk style, but she is grasping at straws.

The folk-hop of "Behind the Door" is a great combination that has Gillian Welch's earthiness with an urbane, Dave Matthews back beat. Again, Love goes to the simple folk-cum-gospel well on "Hard Times" and sounds completely at ease and at home on this format. It's a format that might have been used a tad more on this album, but overall Love seems more often than not to offer up enjoyable, laidback songs.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.