Sweden’s Love Is All has one basic, crucial mission: to make you dance. And while I can’t speak for everyone, I feel confident in saying that they’re a rousing success. Yet for any club-friendly band, even the most viscerally appealing, intellectually void of the bunch, it’s never just about dancing. It could also be about making a memorable melody, making people feel sexy, expelling teenage angst, etc. Dancing is just priority one. For Love Is All, dance grooves are merely a vehicle for stunning songwriting, which A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night has in spades.
Much like Love Is All’s amazing debut Nine Times The Same Song, A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night is a high energy, 10 song collection of edgy, fuzzy dancepunk tracks. Every track is packed with hooks, shout along choruses, saxophone squeals, high speed disco beats and Josephine Olausson’s sassy shrieks. And, likewise, each song is really good. If anything, A Hundred Things actually keeps up its breakneck pace for longer, sustained periods of time than its predecessor, which at least had a track or two like “Felt Tip,” during which listeners could take a breather and bask in the rich, shimmering analog tones.
With opener “New Beginnings,” Love Is All kicks into high gear, juxtaposing rubbery low end with treble-cranked guitar, surging toward the explosive chorus call of “I need a new beginning!” “Give It Back” skips along a similar framework, only sounding even bigger and more dense with its scratchy, jangly riffs. “Movie Romance” has a tinge of Britpop pep, recalling Elastica or Blur at their snottiest. One particular bright spot is “Last Choice,” a track that piles on bigger melodies and a majestic, epic production, while retaining that post-punk backbeat. It’s a shift in tone, though the energy never lets up. Only by track 7, “When Giants Fall,” do Love Is All steer away from careening, fierce post-punk squeals and pull out a huge, soaring, Spector-esque ballad full of reverb and love. With “Rumours,” that energy surges once again, and does so with one of the best riffs in the band’s discography.
There’s comfort in knowing that in the three years since Love Is All released their debut, little has changed. They’re still in the business of getting you to hop and shake, and A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night will do just that. That they’ve been refining their songwriting in the meantime is just icing on the cake.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.