Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Good Ship Rediscovery: Levy - Rotten Love

Sure, it's not that old. But Levy's 2005 album Rotten Love never got as much adulation as I feel it so richly deserved, and I'd like to call your attention to it this very minute. Because like they say, better late than never. And you'll thank me as soon as you give it a listen.

The first time I heard Rotten Love, I had a nagging feeling that it reminded me of something. Some other really good band. It was the heir apparent to someone, but whom?! The answer finally struck me, and what a noble lineage it turned out to be indeed: Levy struck me as the second coming of my beloved Magnetic Fields. For you see, Levy is the young kids' equivalent to Stephin Merritt's group of melancholy mopesters.

Mouthpiece James Levy recalls the very tone of Merritt, all self-deprecating and cynical towards the kooky thing we call love. But as with the Magnetic Fields, part of Levy's charm lies in the mixing of bittersweet sentiment with perky, poppy, pain-killingly pleasant music. The overall message might be that love sucks, but this is transmitted in the sweetest, most charming ways possible. The ten songs on Rotten Love are urban relationship snapshots, featuring everyone from cheaters to unrequited lovers, Levy touches them all. Invariably, each song is exquisitely crafted, slightly fuzzy in production, and extremely relateable.

Rotten Love is a very New York album, though the band has subsequently relocated to Texas. But close your eyes and you'll hear the Big Apple all over.

Every song on the album has been my favorite at one point in time, but tonight it's the wistful regrets of "On the Dance Floor." I hope you love it as much as I do.

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