Review of E.S.P. Album by Love Inks

Texan trio Love Inks consist of husband and wife duo Sherry LeBlanc (Vocals) and Kevin Dehan (bass), they are joined by guitarist Adam Linnell. Although their music is classed as pop it is the complete opposite to the likes of 'Lady Gaga' and 'Jessie J' whose music currently occupies the popular music charts. Love Inks' self recorded album E.S.P. is full of minimalist, bass driven melodies and dreamy vocals, the album as a whole emphasises the beauty of simplicity and how unnecessarily complex music can become. The back to basics approach Love Inks have taken makes for a subtle yet hard to ignore album, not dissimilar from the likes of 'The XX' and 'Beach House'.

Love Inks E.S.P. Album

The ten tracks, stripped down to the very core of pop music, demand to be played over and over again as if dragging its listeners in to a surreal, hazy world of chilling yet enthralling soundscapes generating a plethora of emotions. The first track, an upbeat opener 'Wave Goodbye' is, like many of the other tracks, only two or three minutes long, but this works in Love Inks' favour due to the simplicity of the tracks. The second track 'Blackeye' another track that although it seems to be over before it's begun is the single off the album and rightly so, the immediately catchy melody and lyrics of 'You've got black eye on your eye, tell me was it from a fight, baby? Did it happen last night?' create an ironic aura of romance shadowed by an underlying darker message. The fifth track 'Skeleton Key' is a prime example of the powerful lyrics which are present throughout the album, in this case they are accompanied by a hypnotic guitar chord progression portraying the lo-fi tone which Love Inks have associated themselves with. It could even be interpreted as a form of dance music as the bass drum thumps religiously throughout the track.

As the second half of the album approaches a certain decline starts to become apparent, not in the sense that the quality of the songs are decreasing but that there is a clear change in the mood of the album within the last few tracks at least. 'In My Dreams', the second to last track sends out sleepy vibes with obscure yet somehow appropriate lyrics such as 'psychedelic spirits floating round' creating a thoroughly relaxing experience. The album as whole is like a journey through emotion and mind, hitting the highest of highs then plummeting down allowing us to explore places that have never before been reached.

Although Love Inks' debut is such an overwhelmingly unimposing album its dissonant melodies and distant vocals manage to work their way back again and again, E.S.P. really is pop genius it is also a million miles away from what we consider pop music to be. A truly remarkable listening experience from an up and coming band who have mastered the art of creating simple, but effective pop songs.

James Hopkin