There are bands that take the folk scene stylings of almost five decades ago as a starting block for their own music, to greater or lesser extents. The Love Dimension are going one or two steps further. Forget The Remember is a cleverly and carefully, even reverently put together homage to the music and musicians of the mid 60s. The playing is pared down and avoids sliding too far into effusive technicolor psychedelics, the production is minimal and evokes a ‘live in the studio’ sound’ and it’s almost like fuzz pedals never happened. The Love Dimension will transport you to a West Coast coffee house circa 1965 without seemingly making too great an effort.
Starting with “True Love Comes Round Again”, a sort of garage punk ballad (assuming that songs like that actually exist) a sharply played guitar riff taken at mid tempo and a familiar hippyish lyrical theme, it’s a song that provides a fulsome introduction to The Love Dimension and shows us exactly what the San Francisco band are out to achieve. They’ve found themselves compared to a number of well known 60s bands but unavoidably, it’s the shadow of the Jefferson Airplane that’s the most obvious component of the Love Dimensions artistry, that of the JA in their pre “White Rabbit” incarnation when they were still something of a folk group, even a beat group with designs upon TV slots on shows such as Shindig and Shivaree. Female vocalist Celeste performs a near identical role to the one Grace Slick took on with the Airplane, moving between backing and lead vocals and the actual vocal similarity is a notable one, Celeste taking her cues from the verging upon operatic keenings of Slick in her prime and the rest of the band don’t stray too far from an R’n ‘B sound that only requires a touch more middle on the mixing board to give it an authentically 60s flavour.
“Down The 101″ references “Highway 41″ period Dylan musically, if not perhaps lyrically, a jugband workout that breaks off into an extended midsection instrumental that only lacks a wigged out guitar solo to give it the air of an actual Airplane track, perhaps an outtake from the “After Bathing At Baxter’s” sessions. I’m not so sure about “Where Do We Go” and its meditation upon mortality – ‘where do we go / when we pass on / when we’re no longer singing our song’ are sentiments that I can’t recall many bands ever tackling successfully and fewer yet that ever delved into the big questions about death and the afterlife on their first albums. “A Human Heart” takes a similar lyrical path – ‘we are born / and we die/ every moment of our lives’ and the musical backing isn’t one of the albums more inspired moments. What The Love Dimension are seemingly best at is when they turn up the energy levels and give their instrumentation a freer rein, such as “Uma Coisa Linda” and its verging upon pyrotechnic display of their abilities at full stretch, and “Live Divine” with its harder edged blues influenced playing, songs that are probable highlights of The Love Dimension’s live set.
Towards the end of the album The Love Dimension take a more measured, even assured approach to their songs. “Non Judgement Day” is a breezy, sinuous flute led tune and one moment where the band sound less interested in recreating summer of love vibes and making music that’s more identifiably their own while lastly “Outer Space” is a more defined take on the kinds of awash with effects sounds so many of their contemporaries have made and are making, a song that has a depth to its production that some of the preceding tracks could have benefited from.
The last track is also perhaps the albums real highlight and I cannot help but wonder if The Love Dimension would convince us all more readily if they spent less time recreating the 4 track and valve amp sound most actual 60s bands had to contend with and just did exactly what they felt like doing. Forget The Remember isn’t a bad album by any means, but it’s a little patchy in places and not every one of its eleven songs exactly sets the speakers alight. It’s very far from dull though, and The Love Dimension are quite probably a live act worth going out of your way to see. Their second album will be the one that really shows them at their best, but for now Forget The Remember isn’t quite the introduction to these talented and committed musicians that we need to hear from them.