Is there another band as impossibly charming as The Memories? Among the big reverb sea of lo-fi stoner-pop-surf-y-bedroom-punk-dreamgaze-swooncore-whatever bands, the Gnar Tapes bros are tossing their fitted caps into the ring for fuzzy buzzy band with their newest LP, Love Is The Law, on Burger Records.
Law opens with “I Wanna Be That Guy”, a simple, snappy ditty with simple, snappy lyrics: “I wanna be that guy/I wanna be that guy for you/I wanna be that high/I wanna be that high for you.” It's a short song but enough for Kyle Handley's giddy, bachata-esque guitar riff to commence some major summer swooning. “She's So Tight” finds Izak Arida's vaguely-disco bass pulses allied with bouncing, bopping tinny drums. The tongue-in-cheek titular pun is a sweet hint of subversion. “Squeeze Me” is a mid-tempo track that struts with a hint of wistfulness in looking for a party and a person to hold. “Stoned Alone”, sounds as psychedelically myopic, heady and droned out as getting reallyreallyreally high by oneself would solicit.
In “I'm Not Going To Work Tomorrow”, Handley's unassuming guitar mews are catchy as fuck as they brilliantly punctuate the plucky joy of not going to work because you're hung-over.; presumably after a night of company from “strange people hanging out in the dark.” Side A of Law ends with “Love Is Not A Dream”, with its cool, casual and shuffling beat awashed in drone-y sonic swirls; dreamy enough to make the lyrical themes of insomniac pining for a long-distance love (“I wonder if she dreams of me at all) seem almost enviable.
“You Need A Big Man” is an instant classic. The lyrics are brilliant: “you need some love in your life/and I'm a-gonna give it to you/touching and squeezing and loving and feeling/there's nothing that I wouldn't do” sung in a cartoonish baritone over the spanks of a drum beat. The chorus boasts, “a big man tough/and a big man strong/a big man thick/and a big man long/you need a big man in your life.” Insouciant whistles level out the over-the-top machismo in a song that's (arguably) about dick size. There's no subtlety to be had with “Go Down On You” either. The song verse's lyrics are: “I'd like to taste/between your waste/a sweet surprise/between your thighs/you wonder why/it gets you high/it gets you high because I'm doing this thing right, alright!”
“4 In The Morning” is a ballad invoking the post-party pipe dream vibe of seeing that “all the ragers have all gone to sleep” and asking, “is there anyone still left awake?” Instrumental track “Cherry” flourishes with a gallivanting guitar and swilling bass that says so much without evening having sung lyrics. The track feels like the musical equivalent to keeping the spark of the cherry in a bowl alive with the willing and wishing of tiny breaths. The aptly titled “I Remember You” closes the album with dreamy guitars, minimal yet tuneful bass throbs and the raps of a simple drum beat, Gage sings of being “lost in a haze/thinking on those beautiful dull days…do you remember standing there/I'm not there anymore.”
Law is not without its sore spots. “Like Riker” feels like filler material and is a bit too esoteric, even though “Star Trek” is a renowned cultural phenomenon and it doesn't have the same flair as other songs on the album without a drum beat. “Time” feels an underdeveloped trope and a little dull. Juxtaposed next to a song called “Wasted All The Time”, it comes off as a little too lazy even for the ever laid-back Memories. “You Never Text Me Back” is a short song but its sad drags and trudges throw the pacing off the album.
Overall, Love Is The Law is a record for the moment: a hazy, fuzzy, funny, stoned moment but a charming lo-fi temporal vibe nonetheless. Boys just wanna have fun and even when it staggers, Law is a fun and easy record for dreams of endless summer.