Label: Fortuna Pop! Release Date: 6/12/10 Official Website: MySpace They've been around in Cardiff and London since 2000, and in that time have ridden a rollercoaster of acclaim and criticism, seen 30 members pass through their ranks, released three albums and played live as support for acts such as Los Campesinos!, Pop Levi and Friends of the Bride. This band is The Loves, and they're serious fun. From the cover and title, 'December Boy' appears to be a stab at a Christmas song. Yes, a hardly complimentary picture of Jesus adorns The Loves' new single's artwork, which left me slightly bemused before I'd even heard a thing. What were they going for by putting this sombre-faced version of the original December boy on their single's cover? I don't know. But 'December Boy' is a sweet, melodic pop song, heavily sixties-influenced with Camera Obscura-esque vocals and a traditional Christmassy piano part. The video is worth a mention - a man wakes up to find that the girl he's given his heart to has given it away (derivative much?) and amusing searching ensues. The song itself is nothing to do with Jesus, and only really tied to December by its chorus, echoey choral voices chiming in with "December boy" under a commentary on how sad this lead male feels. With Christmassy instrumental parts - big band brass, bells and the aforementioned piano part, it's incredibly catchy pop. It manages to strike a balance between catchy and annoying though: it would be a better number one than whichever X Factor star's Christmas hit, certainly, though it's been released too early to have a chart place in mind. 'Bubblegum' is where the real entertainment starts. Basically a sixties hit, sharing that riff and percussion-driven vibe of Jet's 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl', 'Bubblegum' is upbeat, well-structured and incredibly unoriginal. Chants of "Bubblegum!" are followed by "She'll chew you up and spit you out... and you end up as bubblegum". Various stories of the accused woman treating you like something she bought for 20p at the local corner shop continue for two raucous and joyful minutes. Nothing like 'December Boy' at all, the song (and the knowledge that there have been 30 band members) shows The Loves up as a band in musical turmoil, bound only by their love for the sixties, but who cares when it's this much fun? Photobucket