Loves It! – Yay!
Review by Jack Foley
LOVES It! are alt-folk duo Vaughn Walters and Jenny Parrott and their new album is Yay! But it’s not entirely worth shouting about in spite of some great moments.
Described as cheerful and energetic, Yay! offers a collection of songs that are driven by boy-girl vocals and mostly acoustic guitars, even though both are adept on a variety of instrumentals (Walter on banjo and guitar, Parrott on guitar, mandolin and fiddle).
It’s disarmingly simple, sometimes kooky, sometimes poppy and always interesting. But some songs struggle to stand out from the pack, while others soar.
My So Called Life, for instance, is a great stripped back folk-rocker that sees Parrott taking lead vocals, while guitars jostle for position with banjos. It’s high on melody and effortlessly toe-tapping.
Bobby Kennedy, meanwhile, trades from a brilliant riff and offers an ode to the life of a politician who might have changed history. “All the hopes and dreams of a good man and a the nation that believed in him dashed away on the day he was shot and killed in California. So sad. When someone like that is killed too early, I always wonder how the world could have been at least a little bit cooler if this person would have had some more time on the earth to be hopeful and positive and influential. He’s under rated in our book,” say Loves It!
Elsewhere, Macomber once more finds Parrott taking centre stage for another little gem (which encourages you to stomp your boots in line with the lyrics), while banjos take centre-stage on the loopy, country-plucker that is Dinosaur. It’s fantastic for easily putting a smile on your face, with the blend of boy-girl vocals effortlessly winning you over. And then they start whistling too!
Two Sides sees Walter taking centre stage and musing over loss and bad news, Dixieland finds them examining the loss and heartache of the Civil War in less than three minutes (with a solitary banjo to match), and Summer Ocean Storm sees a rousing acoustic guitar strum combine with some fiddle to energetic effect.
Just occasionally, the duo allow things to become too relaxed and sparse (Vegas is surprisingly reigned in for such a city). But even when their instrumentals don’t quite pull it off, their thoughtful lyrics generally put forward something worth considering.
It makes Loves It!’s album something to really admire, even if you don’t shout about it from the rooftops. But they probably wouldn’t want you to do that anyway.
Download picks: Dinosaur, My So Called Life, Macomber, Bobby Kennedy, Summer Ocean Storm, Dixieland