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CD Review: The Love Language 

Libraries (Merge)

Stuart McLamb recorded the Love Language's self-titled 2009 debut low-fi style out of necessity. Its follow-up sinks in sonic hugeness. Libraries' opening "Pedals" sets the tone — a grand, sweeping track that struggles under the weight of its wall of sound. There are times when all the bigness serves McLamb's songs, like in "This Blood Is Our Own," which would topple over without the expansive arrangement. Mostly the aural decorations are just a lot of bluster designed to hide the skeletal melodies. At times, McLamb sounds like he's having more fun than he did on his band's dour debut, but the full studio might have cost the Love Language some personality. The bulk of Libraries is pretty forgettable and generic. It sounds OK as it's playing, but escapes into the ether the moment it's over. — Chris Drabick

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