Sam Jayne is Love as Laughter. And Love as Laughter is a terrific, wickedly brilliant rock/pop band on Sub Pop. Think late-’60s, early-’70s Rolling Stones. Think Dylan on his Rolling Thunder Revue Tour. Then throw in some modern chaos, and you’ve got what makes the band work.
“No one’s sincere anymore,” said Jayne, who was holed up in his New York City apartment wolfing down an egg and cheese sandwich. “And me, right now, I’m just hanging in there. I’m barely making enough to pay NYC rent. But I’m just gonna keep doing this until people start listening.”
Jayne’s not that far away. The band’s most recent release, Laughter’s Fifth, has garnered the most acclaim to date. It is inspired, loose and rocking, yet cohesive and hummable. Proof is found in the album’s opening track, “In Amber.” It’s a 3/4 number that swings and pulls. Over tube driven guitars and a tight rhythmic propulsion, Jayne soothingly sings, “I was in amber, did you see me when I melted down? Did you see me when I stuck to the ground? When will you love me when I get out?”
The song represents everything that makes Love is Laughter work. By melding respected sounds from rock’s past with a passionate, tragic viewpoint, Jayne is able to paint a picture that is far superior to many of his more widely known peers.
“I’ve put together a band that’s not afraid to rock. And the response that we’ve been getting as of late, while admittedly coming from a small base, has just been great. People have really been enthusiastic. So I’m hanging in there. And I’m trying to follow the path that people like Dylan set before me. I’m just trying to write real, sincere songs. To cut through all of the crap that’s out there nowadays,” Jayne said.
Time will tell if Jayne receives his just due, but one good listen to Laughter’s Fifth should sell anyone with an open ear. “We’ll be your fixation, if you can keep us rooting along. ‘Cause some kids, their throats get sore, screaming for more and more and more,” Jayne sings. It’s an open, confessional plea and it’s one that deserves to be paid attention to.
Love as Laughter fills in the holes that everyone and everything from Pavement to Silkworm to the Stones’ Beggars Banquet have left wide open. And it does so in a fashion that refuses to be redundant or simplistic. Jayne wants more than that.
“I’m still working odd jobs, you know? But I dig this record and I dig my current band,” he said.
“Hopefully we can find our niche. And it’s not like I’m looking for recognition or anything. I just think that we sound different than all of the other current junk. We’re not the Decemberists, and I’m glad. ‘Cause they suck.”
Love as Laughter play Berbati’s with Todd Barry and Sam Champion on Oct. 27. Their newest release, Laughter’s Fifth, is now available on Sub Pop.