Freshly signed to the new Third Man Records London imprint, with a name like Island of Love, who else are we going to ask about matters of the heart?
Music isn’t a complicated business. Generally, it’s a case of putting the right shaped blocks in the right shaped places, jiggling it around a bit and hoping against hope someone likes it (what? – Ed). That’s the level of editorial cognitive thought going on when we agreed that, yes, it would make perfect sense if new Third Man Records London signees Island of Love were to put us together a playlist filled with romance and seduction for Valentine’s Day. It’s all in the name, right?
So, despite one band member admitting to being – quote – “a slightly pretentious pick when asked about the greatest love songs of all time”, here we are. Maybe not the soundtrack to woo that special someone, but if they’ll love you after your three-hour monologue about how you only like Weezer’s earlier work, they’re probably a keeper.
Here’s what Island of Love came up with, the lovable little Casanovas…
Linus Munch, guitar and vocals:
13th Floor Elevators – Splash 1
Love seems to be the first thing to bring out the poet in a lot of great writers – Dylan, The Beatles etc. – and as the writer of many of the Elevators most poetic songs, Roky Erickson seems to be no exception. I think it’s a real skill to write a song with such obscure and surreal lyrics while still making it so blatantly romantic.
Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf
Always takes me back to my true love. Heaviest riff in a love song ever? Quite possibly.
Karim Newble, guitar and vocals:
Weezer – Only In Dreams
Following in the traditionally “emo” theme of unrequited love, Weezer ended their debut album with an epic love song standing at almost 8 minutes. What makes this song so special to me (if not the abundance of riffs and crescendos) is the subject matter being about a girl who seems to have no clue Rivers is writing about her. He writes about dancing with her in dreams but continuing to wake up alone, and tells the story with cacophonous guitar solos and Pixies-esque loud/quiet dynamics.
Duster – Inside Out
Despite being a slightly pretentious pick when asked about the greatest love songs of all time, I feel Duster build an atmosphere with their chord structures and shy vocal delivery that sounds like the musical equivalent of a big hug. The unpredictable nature of their songwriting, with hypnotising trance-like loops of lo-fi guitar, cements them as a fitting soundtrack to cuddling up and falling asleep. Canaan writes about being able to speak after a “stiff drink”, feeling as though he needs to work up the courage to say a word to whoever he’s writing about. The lyric “those eyes light a fire, in the stomach, fall apart, fall from the inside out” stand to me as some of the most tender lyrics in any love song ever written.
Jimmy Guvercin, drums:
Bloody Death – The Past Is Boring
This is surely the greatest love song you’ve never heard in your life, a declaration of all that’s prevalent in young love, a lament to the art of focusing on the present, an ode to skinny jeans perhaps? Or just a mopey number about wanting a girl to love you as much as you love Title Fight: it’s not gonna happen pal.
Father John Misty – I Went To The Store One Day
Picture the scene, you’re buying mid-afternoon groceries with a throbbing red wine hangover and across the car park you catch sight of someone who will one day will be your wife. Actually don’t picture anything, nothing that perfect happens in real life, but maybe in LA?
Tillman’s ability to recount what is undeniably fate over this swelling album closing tearjerker is astounding, who doesn’t want to find true love at the supermarket?
Oh, and this live version where he’s playing it to her in a Parisian cafe… well it speaks for itself.
Dan Alvarez Giraldo, bass:
The Beatles – Here, There and Everywhere
Hard to pick one Beatles song that stands out from all the other one-of-a-kind love songs they have, however, this one in particular is what I’d label as one of my favourite love songs of all time. The harmonies alone take you in such a sweet gentle feel, almost angelic and embellishes those lyrics in a very unique way. The part where he sings “changing my life with the wave of a hand, nobody can deny that there’s something there” really stands out to me, something so simply written but is so relatable for all of us.
Ralfi Pagan – Ooo Baby Baby
As beautiful as the song sounds, you can hear the pain in the singers voice as he admits his mistakes to his true love. Accompanied by unforgettable melodies and backing vocals that really make the track more than an apology song, Rafi Pagan’s vocal style decorates this tune in a sweet, innocent grace.
Island of Love will release an EP, ‘Songs of Love’, on 18th March 2022 digitally. A vinyl 7″ version will then follow in a limited edition run from 1st July. Check out the title track below.