Before we head south this week, I want to encourage you to check out Austin trio Love Inks, who are staying close to home for SXSW. For their debut album E.S.P., the band worked under the idea of keeping each sound — guitar, bass, drum machine — as pure and unadorned as possible. That left plenty of room for the band’s most important instrument, singer Sherry LeBlanc’s voice. All ten songs use the same pieces but you’ll find plenty of variety, partly due to how LeBlanc’s voice can travel from easygoing, to aloof, cool. “Skeleton Key” shows one side of the band, its heartbeat rhythm pulsing beneath LeBlanc’s untouchable voice. She softens on “Blackeye” as she nurses her bruised friend (more emotionally than physically, it seems). “Baby” may be the most overused word in songwriting, but LeBlanc sings it with depth to its sweetness. She talks about the band’s methods in their bio:
We are a family, and in some ways stronger because we are always supportive. The album reflects a time and place for everyone in the band. A time to pare down to what is necessary, essential. Cut out complexity, and you’ll find a deeper layer that is thicker and stronger. Like the human body, you’ll eventually end up at a nerve; once it’s hit, that’s when we know we’re there, and that’s when we press the record button.
Not many bands show this much patience and restraint with their debut, and it pays off. Listen below:
E.S.P. is out 5/10 via Hell, Yes / City Slang. See them at SXSW:
3/16 – SXSW Showcase @ Barbarella (12 a.m.)
3/19 – True Panther Sounds Party @ Shangri-La (8 p.m.)
3/19 – Hell, Yes! / Art Fag / Impose Magazine Showcase @ Long Branch (12 a.m.)