Love as Laughter – The Greks Bring Gifts

3 out of 5

Produced by: ?

Label: K

Scrappy as all get out, Sam Jayne’s first post-Lync album as Love as Laughter partially indicates the eventual rock and roll direction into which LAL would settle (as a group – Greks being more of a solo joint), but it’s moreso rooted in the K records loosey goosey mindset, erring toward Sad Sappy Sucker-ish lo-fi noisers.  And so to a certain extent one’s mileage is going to vary based on how tolerant they are of a dude chanting nonsense over single-tracked skronk.  Jayne also somewhat bravely kicks things off with the wall-of-guitar It’s Only Lena, a near impenetrable three minutes as you wait for a beat to drop which never comes; it’s another wandering track (or two) before we get to the delightfully Pavementy Keep Your Shade.  The success rate at this point may have you wondering how Jayne survived to put out some pop rock masterpieces later in LAL’s catalogue… but the cadence thereafter settles into about one raw rock track (a la The Supernatural Sessions vibe) per experimental one, and then the second time through, that Lena song suddenly becomes a lot more listenable.  Once your ears are adjusted to the demo tape quality, the instincts that produced those later brilliant albums become more apparent, and Greks proves to be oddly listenable, more consistent in its brashness than the follow up #1 USA.