Y LUV – How Chill Can You Let Go

This Los Angeles quartet have already released two EPs (‘Nothing Matters’ and ‘So I Play’) and gathered favourable comparisons to Arctic Monkeys, The Killers and Kings of Leon.  This third EP, released in 2011, features more glossy, well-produced indie-pop.  Despite the band’s tendency to shift styles between songs, each of the numbers featured on the curiously titled ‘How Chill Can You Let Go’ features a bias towards a decent hook…and with radio-friendly material such as this, that’s obviously very important.

‘All Night’ has an electronic pulse beat which at first sounds slightly intrusive, but is made palatable by an echoing guitar sound which has a hint of early New Order.  There’s a sense of something lurking, as if the song is about to break out into something bigger; by the time that bigger chorus appears, Y Luv adopt a musical style that’s comparable to The Killers.  An okay number, but nowhere near the best on offer here.  ‘Never Touch The Ground’ is far better all round, moving away from the electronic elements and adopting a more indie-pop quality.  Marcello Dubaz provides a strong musical backbone with a quirky drum pattern and the band sound tight throughout, occasionally mining a similar musical territory to Irish indie-poppers The Fallen Drakes. A good number musically, but it is lead vocalist Freddy Janney who really shines here.  The chorus in itself is a strong one, since it features a very calculated, easily sing-able ‘whoah-oh-oh’ which is destined to stick in the head.

Working around some fairly sizable guitar chords, the mid paced ‘Be Free’ is a little more ordinary. Once Janney hits the big notes, not always as tuneful as before, it’s easier to spot where any Kings of Leon comparisons may have been made.  On the plus side, Luke Hanna’s more upfront bass sound is great here and absolutely pivotal in keeping the track moving.   ‘Feel Sound’ is the EPs strongest track, without question.  With verses which rely on staccato guitar loops, it’s hard not to be reminded of The Temper Trap – specifically their big hit ‘Sweet Disposition’ – but Y Luv take those sounds and expand on them.  Eventually those loops build to a big, guitar-fuelled climax, full of crashing chords and new wave elements which sound like guitar-synths.  Before that climax, the clean guitar work and harmony vocals show Y Luv in their strongest and most consistent light. ‘Super Heavy’ is more rock oriented than the other tracks, with lead guitarist Sam Nardella offering a retro riff with a medium sized groove.  As reasonable as that simple riff is, it’s his fuzzy lead guitar parts which really catch the ear.  Under those fuzzy leads, Hanna plays a few busy bass riffs, although never stepping too far outside his anchoring role.

Despite a middling start to this EP, Y Luv are a promising bunch, and there are a couple of songs on ‘How Chill Can You Let Go’ definitely worth investigating.  It’s also worth mentioning, if you enjoy Y Luv, then checking out Dom Liberati’s ‘The Good Hurt’ is strongly advised too.

June 2011