[LOVE STONED] In describing the aesthetic of the Memories' second batch of basement-pop balladry, "lo-fi" doesn't quite cut it: If it turned out the band fashioned its four-track into a smoking apparatus and took hits out of it while recording, it wouldn't be surprising. If your stereo doesn't smell like a used Econoline van after playing these 17 tracks, it's a wonder.
But Love Is the Law isn't just some stoned goof. Not entirely, anyway. Although the arrangements often sound held together by packaging tape, the '50s-derived melodies, spindly C86 guitar jangle and cardboard-box drums are sticky enough to register through the hiss. Most songs are ADD-length, but the tunes that break the two-minute mark—in particular the post-rager comedown "After Party (4 AM)" and the four-minute epic "Love Is Not a Dream," a hazy drift down the kraut-pop autobahn—really make you wonder what these guys could do if they took themselves a tad bit seriously.
Things devolve into giggly sex humor on the jaunty "You Need a Big Man," a barely double-entendre dick joke, and "Go Down on You," which dispenses with innuendo altogether for what comes close to being a Blowfly-level parody of the Beatles' "From Me to You." But the winsomely nostalgic closer "I Remember You" proves the Memories are smarter than they let on, reaching the tragic conclusion all habitual tokers come to eventually: Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is an ineffective way to forget the things you want.
SEE IT: The Memories play PDX Pop Now, at the eastbank lot at Southeast Water Avenue and Salmon Street, on Sunday, July 21. 7:35 pm. Free. All ages.