Despite having released two 12 inch singles, Absolute Boys are still a bit of an unknown quantity. They play the east coast fairly regularly, and we’ve got solid audio evidence of their being, but the idea of the band and what they actually are still don’t quite add up. If you’re familiar with this Complex Emotion then ‘Love Mode’ may help you unravel the clues. But then, it might confuse you even more.
‘Love Mode’ is less right-angled and minimal than what we’ve heard from previous singles, but it maintains the earnest, echo-y vocals, and there’s still no disputing that they’re a rock band. The “dub” qualities often mentioned in the same breath as Absolute Boys seem to hinge on the notion that echo and reverb is all you need to conjure that style, which isn’t true. There’s nothing uncanny or haunted about ‘Love Mode’. If you want an example of that style wielded in a truly effective (and weird) way, check out Circular Keys, who share an affinity with the style, as well as a member with this group.
Absolute Boys though? They’re a good band, but it sounds like what in the ’90s you’d call “experimental rock music”: not without its virtues, but both legs here sound knee-deep in a kind of delicate and cerebral approach to rock. It’s very restrained and coy. I still don’t know what to expect from an LP, which can’t be a bad thing.