"Love seeketh only self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite."
So sayeth William Blake and apparently SSLYBY agree because on this career spanning collection of rarities and outtakesthey use the phrase, first as a song title and then a distillation of affection, affront.
But here is the kicker. SSLYBY got better as time went on and what you discover on this album is how difficult it is to sustain melodic excellence. the 26 songs feel all of a piece and the piece is a sustained drag. Everything is slow and low, dull and unsmart and I wouldn't take the time to dismiss the album except I know for sure that last years Let It Sway was so much better than this that it is something of a shocker how far they have improved.
On Let It Sway, one of my fave albums of last year, the upbeat rock and the hard and tasty melodies never lulled you to sleep, they never ended up like, say Fountains Of Wayne, another band whose bland beats their beats. That wasn't true on last years albums, there was a tight groove to it all. A righteous smartness.
But this album just doesn't feel right: it drags where it jumps, it wheels backwards in time; everything goes slow, everything doesn't quite get where its going. A real good song "Dead Right" is deadly in demo form, a smart title "Lower The Gas Prices, Howard Johnson" catchwes a groove but is so badly recorded it is hard to get into.
Still, I can't wait for the next one.
Let me put it this way:
For Completists, Grade: A
For Everyone Else: Grade: C+
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