Perhaps it’s a bit too easy to fall in love with Love Inks. The Texas trio serve up minimalistic, precious pop, relying on the paper-thin vocals of Shery LeBlanc, her husband on bass, a guitar and a drum machine. They spin fey songs that come in less than two or three minutes and recorded their self-financed EP on reel-to-reel tape recorder. It works at first, but unfortunately there is not enough to latch on to beneath the sweet, slippery pop veneer.
Single “Blackeye” consists solely of the lyrics: “You’ve got black eye on your eye/ Tell me was it from a fight, baby?/ Did it happen last night?” It’s supposed to be cool, but it comes off cloying, like a nagging girlfriend. You are more than happy to tell the story if you’d just give me a second.
The trio is at their best when they take their time, expanding musical ideas in their longer numbers. “Skeleton Key” carries a bit more weight, featuring assuring synths and a strutting backbeat. The fork-tongued, almost dangerous sound of “Leather Glove” unfolds like a love story gone awry.
Ultimately though, the preening post-ironic cover of David Essex’s “Rock On” encapsulates their off-putting, too-cool-for-school vibe. They walk too close to Warpaint without the edge or expanse; The xx without the vibe. The bright spots are juuust bright enough to keep tabs on the buzzing band, but I’d wait til they get in the studio with a proper producer and – what the hell – maybe even a drummer.