The Love Language – Ruby Red

written by: August 27, 2013
Album-art-for-Ruby-Red-by-The-Love-Language Release Date: July 23, 2013


The Love Language is at it again with it’s third LP Ruby Red, and this time with a lot more ’80s pop-rock flair. The band seems to have taken on a whole new direction compared to its previous works, jumping straight out of your mom’s dusty Walkman she’s kept since the iconic era of music.

The Love Language has managed to take this old-school sound and mesh it with more modern aspects as well, with fresh chord progressions and an interesting vocal style that ride on stylistic synths and claps, creating a truly innovative record.

Although ’80s pop-rock is a genre that today’s generation of musicians has tried hard to recreate—and in many cases, this reappropriation has resulted in horrific offshoots of what was an immensely influential period—Ruby Red takes that style and makes it new again for a lot of the album.

The Love Language is still much the same band that it was on previous releases, but comes from a totally new angle that it has seemingly already mastered. In addition to the aforementioned genre switch, a lot of the album also borrows from old Western music, blending an interesting concoction of a few drastically different styles to make something entirely original.

Listeners can tell from the start of the album opener, “Calm Down,” that they’re in for a fun ride. The quick drum beat and catchy bass riff that begin the song are soon accompanied by Stuart McLamb’s heavily-reverbed vocals, something that will surely stir up some good old ’80s nostalgia. The chorus is reminiscent of bands like Portugal. The Man, and really shows off some of the newer elements The Love Language is bringing to the table.

Not all of the songs are as intense as the first, however.

“Hi Life” starts off with a beautiful arrangement of a clean guitar, groovy bass, and some catchy trumpets to tie it all together. It’s one big myriad of gorgeous instrumentation the whole way through, with violins joining the mix after the chorus.

McLamb sings honestly about life, saying, “Take your time/If you’re happy why don’t you stay right where you are?”

Mellowing out even more with the chill, yet intriguing “For Izzy,” McLamb’s vocals mimic Robin Pecknold’s while he sings over Western-esque instrumentals, complete with acoustic guitars and whistling. The additional violins add a gorgeous, somewhat uncharacteristic element to the song. “For Izzy” is one of Ruby Red‘s most unique tracks.

The album ends perfectly with an epic, enormous number that is guaranteed to give the listener chills even after multiple plays. “Pilot Light” is the undisputed highlight of the release, showcasing everything The Love Language has to offer. It’s full of intentional dissonance followed by triumphant resolve, a huge ball of sound that shrinks and rises and falls, and fantastic songwriting.

Emotional lyrics like, “Clarity, been such a long time/We lost the feeling but I’m still in love with your crazy eyes” create a heightened sense of feeling in addition to the incredible musicianship. It ends on a magnificent crescendo, created by a sound as big as an entire room packed to the brim with violins, trumpets, guitars, and drums.

Ruby Red is definitely The Love Language’s best release to date. The combination of musical traditions and fresh ideas brings a beautiful result worth exploring.

The Love Language – Ruby Red tracklist:

  1. “Calm Down”
  2. “Kids”
  3. “Hi Life”
  4. “First Shot”
  5. “Golden Age”
  6. “For Izzy”
  7. “Faithbreaker”
  8. “On Our Heels”
  9. “Knots”
  10. “Pilot Light”