Love Record Breaker is a transitionary record for Burlington, Vermont’s The Smittens.
They’ve grown to a 6 piece with the incorporation of New York soap maker Missy Bly, who having made a guest appearance on their previous LP, Believe Me, contributes the title track here and appears throughout the 8 tracks on vocals, providing a melodically fuller sound. It’s also the last record from The Smittens to feature Dana Kaplan’s vocals pre-transition and pre-testosterone, prior to his new voice and new vocal arrangements.
This is the most forward album from The Smittens so far: sluts, whores, dead pets, not wanting to live and a rather explicit discussion of indie politics all feature as part of this record. It includes a cover of US folk duo Indigo Girls’ Closer To Fine, a homage to their queer forebears as well as their geeky pasts; The Smittens describe the original as an “80s lesbian campfire anthem”.
The title track, Love Record Breaker, was written as a response to a friend’s cold hearted Conquistadorian conquests around town, from the perspective of someone who had been through his conveyor belt of gal pals. “I wanted to convey the anger and frustration that happens in that situation, but keeping a sense of dignity despite feeling like a slut in a long line of ‘sluts’ in waiting”.
This is also a record that has taken The Smittens back to their roots, completing the circle. Writing the track These Lips returned them to their collaborative and improvisational past, not as simple as it used to be with members now living in Philadelphia and New York. Growing from a jam about a lip infection preventing Dana from kissing his partner, The Smittens twisted and turned the meaning into something far saucier, implicating both the narrator and the listener.
Closing the album is a remix of These Days from Death Team’s Johen Rafael Tilli, a Swedish producer The Smittens met on a cruise ship in the Baltic Sea: “I wanted to create a sound that could combine Scandinavian queerness with Moog syntheziers, but at the same time breathe a sense of expectation”.
The album was recorded by The Smittens at Twee Valley Manor and mixed by Gary Olson (The Ladybug Transistor) at his Marlborough Farms Studio in Brooklyn, NY.
Love Record Breaker comes on 10” black vinyl in one of 6 different hand screenprinted sleeves, each hand numbered and limited to 50.
The Smittens are friends first and open-hearted indiepop revolutionaries after that.
Max Andrucki, Dana Kaplan, Colin Clary, Missy Bly, Holly Chagnon and David Zacharis switch up instruments, song-writing, and singing to create catchy, harmony-driven twee ballads, pop anthems, and queer love songs. Always brilliantly lyrical, and often brazenly political.
Press for Love Record Breaker
"The vocal arrangements sound great, the reverb 1950s guitar sound wonderful. There will be no dancing at the indie disco to this and its all the better for it... Arguably their most important album to date." Neon Filler [8.5/10]
"there is nothing really to compare the Smittens with which is good in itself, so you just have to let you hair down a bit if you have some and listen to the simple sounds, chuckle at the naughty lyrics, pour yourself a dry martini and morph into a whore. Marvellous!" Penny Black Music
"To pull off diversity in sound is a feat in itself, but to do so with a coherent sound is pure magic. Somehow, The Smittens do just that without any sign of strain. May they continue with equal exuberance." The Big Takeover
"There’s a certain sense of innocence in this song; it harkens back the the gifts of girl-groups of days gone by, accented by nice male backing tracks. You can’t listen to a song like this and not feel your emotions swell with joy." Austin Town Hall
"I love this!" [Upper West Side] Lauren Laverne, BBC 6 Music
'Burlington band backs transgender singer' [interview] Burlington Free Press