For two and half decade, alternative rockers LOOP have left a void in our hearts. And now they think they can make it up to us just by releasing new material. Which they totally can. Array 1 is the first of three releases planned for the coming year, and features 4 new songs. Expect to reminisce, recognize and be surprised.
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Loop have been away for a very, very long time, but as their name suggests, they’ll always return, and with much thanks to our collective, fervent love of alt rock nostalgia (credit goes to the ever-predictable ATP), the band has made very linear moves towards a comeback -- live shows, of course, and then a bunch of new material set to trickle down in three mini LPs. Their first record in a quarter of a fucking century, ‘Array 1’ sounds like the plates never stopped spinning.
This is, of course, a good thing: Loop make a very particular type of psych rock, a music that is now at maximum capacity nationally and across the sea. You can’t ask for much more than grainy, distorted tunes with microscopic precision and excruciatingly hypnotic motion, give or take the occasional groaning drone interlude; all you can ask is that Loop are still the masters. And on these tracks they sound in fine form -- not just as veterans making good, but as a band who sound unstuck in time. They’ve practiced enough to make it sound like 1992; their guitars are engineered with the squalor to match.
The record opens on the chunkily shred “Precession”, the only slice of new material the band have previewed already. On record it sounds like they’re trying to hit very exact quotas with it, restricting the guitar to staccato actions and keeping the drums dynamic but marching. With the reverb-soaked vocals, the track bleeds into “Aphelion”, another slice of candidly disguised alt rock that keeps its listener close but lathers them in foggy distortion. It’s “Coma”, of side A, that suggests a slightly updated Loop, a droning configuration purer than anything they’ve done previously.
On the flip, Loop have constructed what might be their longest recorded tune ever, “Radical”, which follows much of their general framework, but in suites: it opens on a terse drone of percussive clamour before the band perform a most psych rock bait 'n' switch into ex nihilo rock ‘n’ roll -- suddenly the drums start playing and the guitars slice through the dissonance. The rest of the track is a classic Loop endurance test in hearing an urgent chord sequence panic its way to the end -- barely modulated until the band start riffing around it. It’s Loop as psych traditionalists, and I’m pretty sure that’s all we were hoping for: Loop, coming back around.
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