It’s been eighteen months since I first heard and subsequently fell in love with a bunch of maverick pop ne’er do wells and ‘erberts from Cardiff who collectively go by the name of ’The Loves’. This show was them at their shambolic, noisy, joyous best.

It’s not just the crash, bang, wallop concoction of the coolest 60's underground chic, Bubblegum accessibility, or even riffs that make the songs instantly recognisable before tearing that recognition up in front of your very ears. It’s a mixture of all these combatant elements together with a smouldering androgynous sexuality that exudes a self-depreciating swagger that is indefinably enduring. I love the way they steadfastly refuse to bow to any amount of preciousness in the face of fluidity and melodic structure. They only hint at just how brittle and completely beautiful they can be. There are special moments, for example, ‘ She’ll Break Your Heart’, when this point is perfectly illustrated. Tonight, though they mainly Rawk… And rawk good!

The new songs aired tonight already sound like old favourites. Such is their knack of delightfully hammering a tune into one’s head. Then once it’s in there they slam the doors shut and leave the damn thing rattling around inside unsupervised.

Tonight they start with ‘The Sound We Make is Love', which kicks out the winter blues and gets everyone swinging their hips to the groovy organ sound. By the time the band deliver the frantic reprise the room is shaking. ‘Little Girl Blues’ swings and rides an urgent bass line and segues perfectly into ‘Depeche Mode’. ‘Kiss Kiss Kiss’ explodes from a Buick six laying a sexy hypnotic rhythm across the bobbing heads in front of the band. ‘Chelsea Girl’ is dark brooding and a delicious slab of pop music,’ Shake Yr Bones’ is slight, mesmerising and a murky piece of swamp blues, And that’s not to mention the two mighty singles ‘ Just like Bobby D’ and ‘Boom a Bang Bang Bang’, which are despatched with a rapier intent. Tonight the band are so pure, dumb and wonderfully life affirming. Simon and James swaying and dancing through impenetrable fringes. Catrin the stylish and sassy chanteuse acting as the perfect visual foil to Simon. Liz hovers over her keyboard forever the sultry femme fatale. Her organ sound simultaneously lifting and darkening the songs in equal measure. Psosni, in battle dress, guitar grinding and weaving around the melody. While Dave’s drums pound and crash with frenetic urgency as though each song could be the last he plays. When they end with a snippet of ‘Bugsy Malone’ I’m singing along wishing every Friday night could be like this. What a band. What a gig. They may well be remembered for the things they say and do! Boys and Girls brace yourself. I feel a tremendous album on the way.

The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Bob Stuart and originally appeared on his website

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Commenting On: Toynbee Arts Cafe, London, 21/2/2003 - Loves

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