Love as Laughter

By the time a band releases its fifth album, it should be garnering more than a mere smattering of recognition. However, for Love as Laughter, it's almost understandable that its off-handed arrangements just barely coalesce. In fact, on Laughter's Fifth, songs such as "Survivors" and "Makeshift Heart" sound so loose and laid-back, they almost seem an afterthought. Still, the group's approach can be deceptive, as evidenced by "Every Midnight Song" and "Pulsar Radio," two examples of how it can slowly burn into a full-blown frenzy. Leader Sam Jayne's penchant for rambling rockers filled with witty innuendo references some classic influences such as the Kinks and the Velvet Underground but doesn't lean on them entirely -- not to the point where Laughter's Fifth might sound second-rate.

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Lee Zimmerman