Ain't No Love Tears of Joy

Toronto/Montreal quartet Ain't No Love return with another six-song EP that maintains the style they established on their 2011 self-titled debut EP. Producer Liam Clarke (also one half of Love Thy Brother) laces their sound with electro beats influenced by dubstep, house, disco, hip-hop and rock. Usually rather melodic, even the edgy and hard production gets somewhat softened by the sweet, soulful singing of Saidah Conrad, whose hook work elevates the music to almost pop levels; she's a star in the making and Ain't No Love are wise to give her the room she needs to fully display her pipes. Rappers 1990 and Beanz provide the verses and although they're not breaking new ground as lyricists, their delivery is charismatic and their topics can be rather unusual for what is ultimately dance music. Fame and success are examined on "Blinded," "Gone Already" and "Tears of Joy," while "ReUp" looks at addiction. While the "wish" part of "Gone Already" is kind of cheesy, the harmonizing at the beginning of "ReUp" is unexpected and impressive. I'm also not yet sold on the glitchy, processed effects that artificially alter the delivery of the MCs, even if it works well on record and can be replicated in some way on stage, but I'm getting used to it. Tears of Joy is another quality Ain't No Love EP that successfully straddles the fine line between dance and hip-hop while attempting to drag the sounds of the underground into the shiny pop world. (Independent)