STA is now Ten Years Old

Playlouder Review 'Who Invented Love'

'Perfectly walks the line between sexiness and innocence' - 4/5

The Young Playthings have established themselves as true exponents of the DIY lifestyle: all their past singles have been home-made, they tour endlessly in a doctored blood donor van, and live they're a ballsy three-piece who pack tight harmonies and crunching hooks.

So 'Who Invented Love?' acts as the curve-ball to their melee of concise pop-punk delivery. String quartets pepper the album, and the arrangements push the boundaries of indie-pop with gleeful reverie.

However, this isn't to say that The Young Playthings have changed their format. Instead, they've merely elaborated upon it. The songs are still punchy and full of vigour and vim - first single "Hot Sex With A Girl I Love" perfectly walks the line between sexiness and innocence, crude lyrics clashing with poetic observation, the whole underpinned with a cheeky wink.

Past single "She's A Rebel" makes the album too, and is all the better for its polished presentation. In working with producer Andrew Dragazis (Blue States, The Pipettes) the musical palette has been broadened - what live is the bone-crunching anthem of "Tune" now blazes in fanfare brass and a Pixies-esque guitar riff. Again, the humour of lines such as "In the bathroom, the toiletries are few / And none of these pubes belong to you" are played against others like "I wanted to write you a note / But I don't trust the post / And after all, love isn't a note / It's a tune". It somehow allows you to perfectly imagine the strife of the long-distance relationship depicted in the song.

From the Hannah Barbera-esque front cover, it's clear The Young Playthings use music as they would a diary, pandering to neither fashion nor fad, but instead a seeking blessed release. In acoustic tracks like "Just A Fool" and "Never Let You Go" strings add essential melodies, allowing the songs to sprawl in their confused pondering between love and hate. The jewels in the crown have to be "Last Night In Los Angeles" and "Cold Cold Heart", both songs matching the radio-friendly guitar sounds of The Cars with the impeccable melodies of Huey Lewis at his finest. These are songs Razorlight wouldn't have the audacity to write, and the opening line of "Last Night In Los Angeles" has one of the catchiest guitar hook written this century.

'Who Invented Love?' shows that exploring the pleasures and perils of life through guitar music can transcend cliché and the band-as-brand commercialism we've come to expect from the stagnant indie climate.

- Jon Falcone, Playlouder