The second part of CARE’s LUV IN THE RUINS sees Justin Majetich in a better place than the first. The great release felt at the end of “Netcong” — “You’re free” — is sublimated, the edge and end stared at and then backed away from, used as propulsion towards a more positive and hopeful chapter. The songs on the back half of CARE’s new album are nervously romantic, allowing for sentiments like “Of all the hapless humans here in New York, you are the one I choose to love” (on “Icon”) without blushing. It’s a warmer approach, treating love like the salve that it can be: “Your cadence lends a little calm: to my restless, to my too intense, to my high-strung, to my stupid little head,” he sings on “Amethyst.”
The same delightful tangents that were present on the first part are present here, as well: a slow doo-wop at the end of “Amethyst,” the anthemic rocker that ascends out of “Insomnia,” “Jade”‘s haunting and spacey outro. Majetich’s compositions are as wide-ranging as they are inventive, and LUV IN THE RUINS is long and epic enough that he gets a chance to show off a lot of different sides of his sound, from burbly synths to exultant horns to moments of driving, urgent pop. The album ends on “Mangled Flame,” with Majetich repeating the phrase “I loved it” while a twinkle of piano leads him out. A journey well-spent. Listen below, and check out a video for “Moonlight” from the album’s first half.
01/18 Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
01/19 Kalamazoo, MI @ Headquarters
01/20 Grand Rapids, MI @ Workshop
01/21 Detroit, MI @ Donovan’s Pub