Here is Night, Brothers, Here the Birds Burn
Let’s play a game. Imagine this: what animal would you get if the seedy, urban life of, say, London or New York, mixed freely with the stereotypical-back-alley-toothless-wonders of, say, Alabama? A Love Life. Yes, a love life. Certainly not my first thoughts either, but Love Life is a Baltimore-based band that masterfully accomplishes the above oddity… whether purposefully or not doesn’t quite matter.
On Here is Night, Brothers, Here the Birds Burn, Love Life blend “traditional” Goth culture (mid-tempo, multi-instrumental arrangements) with a peculiar Southern sensibility. Various musicians (simply too many to name here!) launch, on “Sweet Nocturne,” with a beautifully rendered classical piece while Ford struts: “Siren, sing to me/Joyfully I grin sounds like melody to me.” The band swerves from classical to jazz to pop with ease — and to the listener, joy.
With this ease comes strain. For instance, lyrically, the songs are either bordering bravado or clichéd. On “Listen Loudly” when Katrina Ford sings, “I’m happy!/Shout it out from the mountains,” it is at once pained and unbelievable as if the speaker is attempting to convince herself that she is indeed happy. She continues with, “Happiness it goes, what flame it burns/Sadness it comes, I can’t let go.”
Maybe Love Life’s music has more to do with “place” than I can give credit. I mean, there still is a debate — only among academicians — as to whether Baltimore is a southern or northern city. We will never know, but Love Life has seemed to offer a rather plausible solution.