Labour of Love is a song by Frente!, which appeared on their debut 1992 album, Marvin the Album.
Frente! was an Australian alternative rock and folk/pop group, formed in 1989. The original line-up consisted of Simon Austin on guitar and backing vocals, Angie Hart on lead vocals, Tim O’Connor on bass guitar (later replaced by Bill McDonald), and Mark Picton on drums (later replaced by Pete Luscombe).
In August of 1991 they issued their debut EP, Whirled, which included this track. In April of 1992, they released a second EP, Clunk, with the featured track, Ordinary Angels, which peaked at # 3 on the ARIA Singles Chart, in Australia. It was followed, in December of that yea (1992), by Accidently Kelly Street, which reached # 4 in 1993.
The band’s debut album, Marvin the Album, was also issued that December, which went on to feature this song on it. The album appeared at # 5 on the ARIA Albums Chart.
Labour of Love was re-issued in 1994 as a CD single paired up with a cover version of New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle. Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, remarked that the group’s “quirky, irreverent, acoustic-based sound was at odds with the usual guitar-heavy, grunge trends of the day. The band’s presentation had a tweeness about it that could have been off-putting if not for its genuine freshness and honesty“.
In 1994, Frente! toured Europe and the US to promote the international version of Marvin the Album on Mammoth Records.
In January 1997, Frente! performed on the Melbourne leg of the Big Day Out, in July that year they issued another CD single, Goodbye Goodguy. Tobias had joined Frente! for their final tour before the band broke up late in 1997 – Hart and Tobias married and formed a duo, Splendid.
Editor’s Note: I am sharing two “Videos of the Day” for this week’s theme since time got away from me yesterday. This one’s another 90’s discovered Australian gem that I learned about via the short-lived television series, My So-Called Life. They were featured on the show’s soundtrack with the song, The Book Song, which led me to search the aisles of the Tower Records I worked at, looking for Marvin the Album. I fell hard for Angie Hart’s sound, her voice becoming one of my favorites from the mid-90’s. Labour of Love is one of those songs I love to throw into a playlist, turn up, and sing-a-long to. This morning it came on right after Edie Brickell’s song What I Am and it was a brilliant pairing of songs, sounds and memories.