From first listen, Nine Times That Same Song — the debut album from Sweden’s art-punk popsters Love is All — sounds at the same time alluringly familiar and strikingly fresh. The high-pitched and adorably accented squeal of singer Josephine Olaussen fits right in with post-punk heroines (and obvious influences) such as Kleenex, Prag Vec and The Mo-Dettes. The music, even with its sleazy saxophone groan and lo-fi attitude, doesn’t only hearken back to the late ’70s; there are traces of ’90s revivalists such as Slant 6 and Comet Gain. But again, the members of Love Is All have studied, not stolen. They’ve taken all the best from their predecessors and, as in the photocopied cover of their album, pasted only the right pieces together.
The ten songs here tend to come from a very specific setting, with titles such as “Spinning and Scratching,” “Talk Talk Talk,” “Trying Too Hard,” “Make Out Fall Out Make Up” — you can practically see the band-members slouching around a dark club, drinking and dancing and yelling and kissing in the corners. “Sorry if the music’s too loud! And the air is thicker than the crowd!” the band members shout together in “Make Out Fall Out Make Up,” although it’s pretty obvious they’re not sorry at all. If you don’t understand their preferred scenery, you won’t enjoy these tales of love lost on the barroom floor. But if you like spending nights screaming along to your favorite songs in a sweaty basement somewhere, then this may be the soundtrack to your summer house parties.
Almost all of the short tracks here are fast-paced anthems for running around like a dance-floor demon or a giddy teenager or a cross between the two. But there are a few that slow things down for a moment of reflection on crushes (“Felt Tip”) and the benefits of getting off your ass and doing something (“Turn the Radio Off” and “Turn the TV Off”). The last two both have the soft sound of something reflective, but it’s hard to decipher if the message is to stop being lazy in general or to stop having to recover from hangovers so often. Either way, the meaning is clear: Whatever you’re doing isn’t enough. But since you can’t be Love Is All, you can at least shake your ass to the band’s debut, which clocks in at just less than thirty minutes. That’s the perfect amount of time to get ready to go out — or to have that one last beer with a couple of friends as the sun comes up.