The Loom – Here In The Deadlights

The Loom – Here In The Deadlights

One thing about beginning your album with what may be your strongest song is that it gives the rest of proceedings something to live up to. “Fire Makes” – the first track on what is the newest LP from the Brooklyn folk/rock crossover quartet – is a tremendously effective introduction to The Loom on their third full length release. A swirling, dissonant and reverb-laced composition, it carries a sense of accomplishment on the band themselves, SXSW veterans that formed over a decade ago and whom you would expect know exactly how they want their music to sound. With its tumbling rhythms and a duetted vocal from band founders John Fanning and Lis Rubard, “Fire Makes” and its virulent combination of elegaic powers should convince anyone that The Loom aren’t just messing about in their studio of a weekend.

Second track “I Am Not Young” is less of an actual song and more of an instrumental introduced by John Fanning’s distinctive part-spoken vocal, a voice that can soothe and irritate in equal measures as it resembles that of a well known actor whose name continues to escape me (possibly Donald Sutherland?) and distinctive as it is, its nasal monotone can grate occasionally. This is a slight criticism though, and as the keyboards and sound effects kick in The Loom’s prog-rock ambitions are fully revealed.

“Snowed In” positively invites the audience to wave their hands in the air like they just don’t care, with its thudding drum intro and frenetic alt-folk rhythm, although after this the overall mood of the album shifts perceptively to a more introspective and laid back, even sombre one. The songs take on an altogether larger soundscape as the record progresses and this is handled with more than competence. Although I did find myself wanting to hear slightly more clarity in the album production, particularly with fifth track, the impressively performed “A Mast, A Hull”, where Fanning and Rubard again perform a duet, and to some dazzling effect.

Perhaps it’s the album’s last and title track that’s the most effective of the nine songs that constitute Here In The Deadlights. Certainly its combination of softly phrased piano and atmospherics, the inspired and very quotable lyrics which bring an assured vocal performance from John Fanning, the songs skilfully played transformation into a post-rock epic, and its corrosive blend of intricate musicianship and emotive power finally reveal The Loom as a band whose ambitions are completely realised. Its pace may slow a little too easily and its most potent ideas are occasionally lost in the echoing production, but Here In The Deadlights perhaps represents these experienced and talented musicians at their most accomplished, and it’s an album that requires repeated listens to fully appreciate its scale and depth.