For their fourth proper album the Portland Oregon quartet, Blanket Music, gathered in the former South Portland Branch Library (An early 20th century structure under residential renovation by band leader Chad Crouch) to self-record a collection of love songs rooted wholly in earnestness. They came away with not only their fourth, but their fifth album as well, and being all love songs, they are collected here in a two disc set entitled The Love and Love Translation respectively. Disc one presents Blanket Music originals, kicking off with the indie-pop confection “Slide” (complete with mbop, bop bops and chiming glockenspiel) the music bears some resemblance to their lauded Cultural Norms album before veering into new territory. The Love weaves and bobs through a pastiche of pop idioms while showcasing the intrinsically unique artistry of the four boys (Chad Crouch [Toothfairy], Dave Depper [The Village Green, Norfolk and Western, Toothfairy], Greg Lind, and Michael Johnson [Parks and Recreation, Reclinerland]) embracing their strengths and limitations confidently. With The Love they continue to build on their reputation for pop eclecticism, each album representing an artistic metamorphosis in the tradition of The Beatles and David Bowie.
Disc two collects love songs written by friends of the band, and largely presented here as interpretations. Well-known ballads from The Decemberists (Red Right Ankle) and M Ward (Undertaker) have equal footing among the up and comers and under-exposed alike, all of whom bearing some relation to Crouch’s HUSH label in the past or present. With this disc Blanket Music have not only memorialized their music community, they have created a compelling album in the lost tradition (of the 50’s and 60’s) of covering contemporaries unabashedly, offering up alternate versions with gusto