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Chris Girdler Joined: 9th December 2010
Last seen: 27th March 2014

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Love Connection : Euphoria

Love Connection’s debut was a grab-bag of styles that somehow came together to create something distinctive and refreshingly original, achieved through a freeform collection of sprawling psychedelic pop jams. Their follow-up, Euphoria, is an equally strong record, but it takes a different approach. In an effort to bottle the band’s essence into real, proper songs (there’s even a lyric sheet), Michael Caterer and his band have put together an album feels more contained and direct, without losing the impulsiveness or experimentation that made them so appealing in the first place.

 

The more lo-fi Love Connection album was almost in danger of getting lost in its many layers, but Euphoriais more restrained. It’s the work of a band stripped things back and being exposed – hence the cover portrait, an eye-opening shot by Karl Scullin, who was also responsible for the infamous ‘body hair’ Fabulous Diamonds cover.

 

Most of the songs on Euphoria average at the four-minute mark, succinctly encapsulating Caterer’s sharp pop melodies and proving that ‘epic’ doesn’t have to mean lengthy. The gradual fade-outs between the songs accentuate how well they work as stand-alone songs, though it all hangs together just as well as the interconnected debut album.

 

There’s a lot of fun to be had here, but it’s not all quite as euphoric as its name suggests. Natures Vice laments wasting life away, with a resigned ‘I’ve been thinking about losing my mind’. It’s a sentiment echoed in the following track, You Don’t Need Muscles To Get Love. A dreamy piece with a weary melancholy at its core, it sounds like something from one of Brian Eno’s early space-rock oddities. But then we break through into the album’s carefree centre, with the poppy Day By Day and the uplifting homecoming of Coasting.

 

Mood-building instrumentals Piezoelectric and Forest frame the album’s main body of work, after which the band’s new-found precision takes a detour at its title track, which runs a mighty 20 minutes. You expect a psychedelic rock extension of what’s been laid out before, but instead you get pulled into a gently throbbing pool of krautrock ambience. While it’s completely hypnotic, it’s not the sort of thing you’d stick around for every time you chuck the album on, and it’s strategic placement as the album’s last song says a lot. The rest of the album, particularly the upbeat pop gems Home On The Wave, You Don’t Need Muscles To Get Love, Day By Day and Sex In The Cinema, demands multiple listens.

 

While this seems more than sufficient a booty after a two-year waiting period, there’s another album scheduled for later this year. Who knows where we’ll be heading to from here, but the band’s past two albums indicate it will be a journey well worth taking.

 

BY CHRIS GIRDLER

 

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