The cauterisation of a band’s music often happens in your head from the first few bars. We then seem to search about, making comparisons with sounds we have heard from other bands slotting them in to little genres or sub-genres although we don’t always admit it.
Loom are one of those bands that you have figured out after the first track of the new album, then just as you are settled in to listen to track two they hit you with a new direction pulling influence from various sources. From their beginning in 2012 Loom, created a stir with their first recordings, two cassettes which ultimately earned them a support slot with another little known band called The Rolling Stones in an intimate venue called Hyde Park. The band (although growing in reputation and stature) were quick to point out that they did not want categorised by anyone which seemed to be happening in the press. This resulted in them keeping a low profile for some time with frontman Tarik Badwan stating “Labels and journalists were quick to assume we had a certain sound and wanted to have an influence on that.”
They are now back with a self-titled album that reinforces the fact that the band have unfinished business with regards to the music scene. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another album that starts with a song about head lice…I’m scratching my head not only thinking about it but listing to the lyrics as well. Although not wanting to make reference to any other bands for obvious reasons, I must say that Lice has an uncanny mix of early 80s goth and grunge coming through at me, both dark and exciting. Those eerily dark vocals introducing the verse, before exploding into raucous vocal chorus wrapped around thrashing drums and intermittent tuneful jangling guitar informing you that “He’s got a pet that lives in his head”.
It’s a notable introduction to the ten-track album, before we get a taste of Hate which is at a lower tempo. The siren-like guitar that warns you like an air raid coming starts the track; whilst angst-ridden vocals bleed the lyrics out the speakers to calls of Hate.
Leopard is contradictory in the way it’s structured, having lighter moments, a catchy chorus and at times feeling totally disjointed, but somehow it works and flows. This is the magic of music I suppose where something that is played in all the wrong places comes together to collectively create something that most definitely works. I can’t imagine how you would go about creating this, and most likely stumble over it throwing the instruments round the room in a state of euphoria.
A more conventional song in Salt kicks off with a heavy bass foundation taking us on another of the band’s directions. It is a driving track that makes you realise Loom are here to be reckoned with and will be around for a while if they choose to be. It’s probably my favourite track on the record, but with this album many people would choose something different as their top track just because of the diversity of the music.
Creating yet another menu of sounds they give us Seasick which has a cacophony of noise joined by jangling guitar, the vocals being reminiscent of shouting to shore for help in the knowledge that you’re going to die. Barbed Wire is as you would expect: tangled, sharp and dangerous, its cutting lyrics relentless and angry. The song travels at a rapid pace, taking the odd intermission before the onslaught starts up again and coming to an abrupt ending leaving you scared and bleeding.
Loom are a band that seem to have created a sound from every influence each band member has had in the past. Here, they have delivered an album that has so many memorable sounds running through it and still gives their own distinctive style. It’s the musical equivalent of a restaurant menu offering Chinese, Indian, Thai, sushi and a fish supper: it’s all there under one roof but well worth visiting more than once.