While touring together, Texans Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski (Cross Record) became chummy enough with Jonathan Meiburg (Shearwater) to start a band; and so it was that Loma (which happens to mean ‘holiday’ in Finnish) came to be. If lead single ‘Black Willow’ represents the entire self-titled debut, we’re in for a fair whack of smokey, unhurried indie melancholy.
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Well, yes, this makes sense. It has Jonathan Meiburg all over it -- he pilots Shearwater, who make wide eyed indie folk for young adults. He’s joined by a duo of musicians from Cross Record, who make wonderfully lo-fi pop at loose ends (Ba Da Bing! Once released one of their records, almost veering out of their territory of cantankerous experimentalism). As a trio they’re soft and sad, going out in the eye of the storm and creating cinematic folk rock as it starts to break.
The three of them use Loma to experiment from within a familiar format. They break up some melodies with creaks and whistled squeaks, invoke naturalistic recordings and even use a prepared piano. It’s all tethered by a typically lush sound -- one of warm, steady finger-picking and hushed vocal hooks. If anything, the additions made to ‘Loma’ make it sound like the most fully realised version of both bands, offering spook and aggression to their custom of delicacy.
A lovely record that stretches and unsettles songs that would otherwise feel meditative, the best thing about it might be its precision -- the textures on this record work perfectly, never capsizing a band playing with tension.
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