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Love As Laughter: Holy (Album Review)

Over their 14-year career, indie-rock stalwarts Love as Laughter have often produced music that is willfully uncommercial and even absurd. (The Brooklyn-based outfit’s last release, Laughter’s Fifth, had a reference to the Pauly Shore comedy Encino Man, rough-hewn arrangements that obscured frontman Sam Jayne’s songs, and a darned kazoo!) Holy is a different beast altogether. The crisp production by onetime Clash engineer Joe Blaney brilliantly showcases Jayne’s writing, which has never been more tightly skilled or confidently ambitious: Both the eponymous opener and the subsequent track ”Crosseyed Beautiful Youngunz” are gorgeous laments that little prepare you for the glorious Afro-pop-tinged single ”All Parts of Me” or the sinister, shuffling ”Cleaning Man.” And while the lyrics of the Wilco-ish ”Konny and Jim” include a nod to Iron Butterfly’s ”In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida,” it is still more lovely than laughable