Love Is Love (Dischord)

Jan 7, 2004 at 4:00 am
By title alone, you might blindly assume that Love Is Love is a sappy pop record, replete with mushy imagery and bubblegum production. And your assumption would generally be correct, if this weren't a Lungfish album. No foggy car windows or boxes of chocolates here, instead, you stumble over such images as the devil as a flower, "plucked from a cloud," "a God-form that's formless" and a "solemn egg of death, rolling on the road."

For the initiated, these are but normal lyrics in the Lungfish canon; it is a world that is at once both conflicted and content, full of lust and disgust, fear and courage, confusion and clarity, signs and signifieds, love and hate, lines and circles and time and space.

Lungfish is the perfect cult band. Its rhythms are monolithic, lulling listeners into trancelike states. Yet the band has rock edge that never dulls, each hook pulls you further into its world. Frontman Daniel Higgs -- an imposing middle-aged man with gobs of tattoos and a thick, wise beard -- is the ultimate modern-day shaman. He is the oracle through which the words of the universe speak -- perhaps mangled, perhaps polished but always enigmatic.

And it is through the use of enigma that mythology and religion attempt to explain the world. Humans create more symbols, more metaphors, more languages to decipher our surroundings. But with Love Is Love, Lungfish's tenth album, the metaphors stop: Love is simply Love, nothing else. "Love is love at the highest heights/ patterns of light/ echoes through space." Love is the same everywhere, it binds everything together: "Love is love all is reconciled." That's a perfect religion. That's Lungfish. How's that for a pop record?