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Friday, February 4, 2011

Love: "Da Capo"

"Da Capo"
Elektra (1967)
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

Love is a band that is defined largely by comparisons, because it never gained much mainstream traction by itself. The most common comparison made is to The Doors, largely because The Doors were discovered by Elektra’s president while it was playing an opening set for Love. Some even describe the bands as rivals, although I doubt any real tension existed.

A better comparison point, at least for the album “Da Capo,” is the Rolling Stones, for two major reasons.

The first and most major is the song “Revelation.” This track was one of the first to take up an entire side of an LP. Basically, “Da Capo” is made up of 6 standard length songs, and then the second half of the record is one 19 minute track. The Stones released “Aftermath” earlier in 1967, which featured the 12 minute “Goin’ Home.” Love vocalist Arthur Lee claims that the Stones stole the idea from a Love performance, but just happened to get the album out first. Regardless of who came first, “Revelation” is still a far better listen. Despite being seven minutes longer, Lee and company don’t show signs of tiring. It’s hard to believe, but the second half of the song is better than the first. A series of sax solos from Tjay Cantrelli keeps it lively and Lee’s voice doesn’t lose its luster (he sounds like a less powerful James Brown).

The second similarity is the song “She Comes in Colors.” This is another battle of “who came first?” The Love title is also the same exact line that’s used in the Stones’ “She’s A Rainbow,” which came out in, you guessed it, 1967. This time, the Stones track comes out ahead.

The band is somewhat similar to The Doors because of its frequent use of the keyboard. Love began as a folk band however, and it keeps a folk-ier feel in several tracks by having keyboardist Alban Pfisterer jump to the harpsichord for a more acoustic (and I daresay, more trippy) feel.

Love, despite never being a sales powerhouse, still deserves some credit for pushing the limits of song length, a trend much more embraced by alternative pop and rock bands of today.

INTERESTING FACT: "7 and 7 Is," the album's biggest single, features the sound of an "explosion" at the end that was created by kicking a reverb unit around to create distortion, which was a novel idea at the time.

Revelation by Love on Grooveshark

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