The PepTides Love Question Mark

The PepTides Love Question Mark
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Love Question Mark, the fifth LP from the PepTides, could very well have been titled 31 Love Songs, as the theatricality, ambition and thematic ingenuity imbedded within could hold its own alongside the Magnetic Fields' 1999 masterstroke. Split into two parts ("Electro Love" and "Retro Love") and with each of its 31 tracks containing the word "love" in its title, Love Question Mark feels like a celebration of music's most-sightseen theme.

Like that of Stephin Merritt, the ostentatious Ottawa octet's music is wholly indebted to the American musical; although Merritt may be indebted to Hellzapoppin, the PepTides prefer to channel Rocky Horror Picture Show. The group's decision to lead this sprawling collection with the synth-laden "Electro Love" portion seems either dubious or brave, as the PepTides seem much more comfortable on the groovy "Retro Love" side. Nonetheless, Love Question Mark brims with ideas and style — many that stick and some that fall flat — giving the listener an ambitious collection of fun, daring, unadulterated, true blue art. (Independent)