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Listen to This!

Loveninjas kungfus cynical hearts this Valentine's week.

By Thom Wong, 15 Feb 2007,


Maybe it has been the influence of music videos, or really good movie soundtracks, or just late-onset ADHD, but I spend a lot of time thinking what music should accompany the various moments in my life. Not just any music -- the perfect music: the song that would take a mere stroll in Gastown to the level of fine art. I call this the Band of Outsiders phenomenon. Anyone who has seen Godard's tale of two would-be thieves and the woman they love (and if you haven't, you owe it to yourself to do so right now) cannot help but remember the dance scene in the café. Totally, effortlessly cool. Naturally, I have now expended great effort trying to emulate this throwaway style, which is, of course, counterintuitive.

If I dressed only in fitted Merino wool suits, and if I drove in a tiny convertible, and if I happened to hang around Anna Karina, I would want the Loveninjas playing in the background. Since they sound like an American band trying to be British it makes sense in my moebius strip world that they, and the rest of the Labrador Records stable, come from Sweden.

What better metaphor for love than the elusive ninja, who sneaks up on you with a vast array of weapons and catches you unawares, most likely with your knickers down? And their music is just as stealthy: all jangly guitars and muted harmonies that work their way into your soul until you're subliminally tapping your feet. "You can keep your love," lead-singer Tor tells you, but his catchy bassline is saying otherwise -- the Loveninjas have got you throwing your love and your ankle kicks around the dance floor.

According to their label site, Loveninjas "started with a strict concept playing in ninja masks, a giant heart costume and writing lyrics about sex, Japanese girls and ninjas (mostly all at once)." Apparently they started to write good music after they ditched the masks. I like to think that they were still wearing them when they wrote "so gentle, and wild when you're on top."

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