LVL UP – Return to Love

Album Review by Will Fitzpatrick | 16 Sep 2016
  • LVL UP – Return to Love
Album title: Return to Love
Artist: LVL UP
Label: Sub Pop
Release date: 23 Sep

Anyone mourning the oft-declared demise of indie rock might want to tilt their ears towards LVL UP. From an opening hymn to creativity (seemingly equating inspiration with profound and/or religious experience) to its closing sludgey drones, the New York noiseniks' third full-length offering is a simultaneous exploration and celebration of the genre’s most addictive qualities. Even at the midpoint meltdown of Pain’s insistent fuzz-mangling, it's all sumptuously glazed with a thick veneer of moreish melody and buzzing hooks.

The ‘alt rock greatest hits’ vibe isn’t entirely surprising given that the band’s three songwriters deliver a hot mess of influences and experiments. Hell, you’ll catch yourself playing ‘spot the influence’ at times – Jeff Mangum and Teenage Fanclub cast respective shadows over Hidden Driver and I, for a start. But like that Jim Jarmusch quote about originality vs. authenticity, it’s the fun LVL UP have with their filched ideas that’s key: happiness and repeat plays guaranteed.

Listen to: She Sustains Us, Pain