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[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Love as Laughter
Laughter's Fifth
Sub Pop Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

May 6, 2005
As any peanut butter connoisseur would tell you, if you have a preference you very rarely stray from it. I'm a crunchy PB gal myself; I like the rough texture, the extra flavor and a little something more to sink my teeth into. In the world of indie pop, I'd consider the Shins creamy peanut butter folks, as their music is extra smooth, and while tasty, it goes down easy.

In comparison, Love as Laughter are crunchy - their music is more about rock than pop, and it's not afraid to be a little lumpy and coarse. Trading the Shins' influences of The Byrds and Badfinger for more off-kilter, similarly crunch-loving fare like Pavement and Neil Young, Love as Laughter are just as loveable and hit the same satisfying mark as their label mates.

Bathing skewered rock in humor and irony, Laughter's Fifth is marvelously entertaining. Beyond that, it's more ambitious than you'd ever expect - when you hear Sam Jayne call upon the spirits of classic 70s rock on the epic "Makeshift Heart," you'll know you're in the presence of a genius, as madcap as he may be. The song feels almost choral, lighting candles in ultimate hero worship and taking things that much farther.

We're treated to an abundance of that loving honor within Laughter's Fifth, as "In Amber" cases the joint like Cortez the Killer in slinking, stalking strides; "Idol Worship! Idol Worship!" is surprisingly open, with shimmering instrumentation hidden in-between T. Rex licks and "'Survivors'" gets its hands dirty in the grime of grunge. While the noise can get chaotic and winded, as it does on "Every Midnight Song" - it leaves dirty little fingerprint smudges all over, making its pop charmingly unclean.

At the same time, it can afford to be fairly silly, hitting both aspects of the band's name: love and laughter. The spectacular highlight, "Dirty Lives," claps for Stephen Malkmus as it tackles sideways character pop with self-conscious, hands-in-the-pocket lucklessness, and "Corona Extra" goes as far in the interest of fun as to have its own kazoo solo.

If you're looking for a record whose smirk is as intoxicating as its smile, or one that proves that pop doesn't have to be straight-laced to be delectable, Laughter's Fifth should be sly enough to sneak its way into your favor.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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