Love As Laughter Laughter's Fifth

Though it’s been four years since Love As Laughter released their last record, the most excellent Sea to Shining Sea, it feels like it’s been an eternity since they’ve graced us with their presence. In this absence there was obviously some type of self-discovery or examination of the band’s sound as they appear to have reinvented themselves in a shocking but most pleasing way. Gone are the adrenaline-fuelled psych-punk freak-outs, and in their place songwriter Sam Jayne (who’s spent time in the Modest Mouse camp as of late) has transplanted a string of ’70s riff-heavy rock with irrepressible pop hooks. Along the way he’s found a knack for writing perfectly droll lyrics without resorting to the infantile or absurd. This newfound songwriting style allows Jayne to expose himself for the strong craftsman that he is. "In Amber” begins with climbing Neil Young guitar riffs and emotive vocals, while the pervy "Dirty Lives” and the organ-driven "Canal Street” showcase the band’s ability to write catchy pop ditties. The band really make their mark when it counts, on the closer, "Makeshift Heart.” Proving he’s been trading songs with Doug Martsch, the extended jam compels Jayne to break out those infamously epic Built To Spill-ed guitar solos and hooks. Laughter’s Fifth is a great surprise party that reveals there’s just so much more to L/A/L than the raucous noise they pushed in the ’90s. (Sub Pop)