Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Loons – Red Dissolving Rays of Light

After catching San Diego’s Loons at the LV Shakedown recently, and being knocked out (once again) by their unique take on garage /psyche /rock’n’roll, I had to pick up their latest CD. I believe that I have missed a record since their debut, Love’s Dead Leaves, but the band is now a tight, rockin’ combo with more garage than psyche elements.

Opening with “Between Grey Slates” and its simple, catchy fuzz riff, you know right away what you’re getting in for. But then they take it even farther with the feedback & fuzz drenched “I Wanna Get You”, moving at sonic speed, not unlike a super-charged take on the Litter’s “Action Woman”, with interweaving lead guitars as an extra added bonus!.

Not to be pigeon-holed, the group then adds 12-string (courtesy of Marc Schoeder) and tremeloed guitars (Chris Marsteller), fine harmonies by bassist Anja Dixson, some pounding drums (Mike Kamoo) and more fuzz onto “La Mesa Boulevard” – these cats are far from one-dimensional! “Orphan Wing” starts out with some moody guitar chords, harmonies and a mid-paced groove that harkens back to some of the band’s tunes from their first release.

They continue to mix it up with “Summer’s End” – a stomping beat with 12 string guitar and highly melodic vocal lines along with a cool, fuzzed-out solo. The title cut has a superb, sustained, feedback-ridden guitar line moving throughout the melody to create a terrific number – Chris (I assume) really out-does himself here. I can see why they named the record after this!

A neat acoustic guitar opens up “A Last Goodbye”, giving it a bit of a Soundtrack of Your Lives feel (like the Ebbot-produced debut album), and a nice groove and catchy melody propels it along. A welcome breather after the last tune and a great song. “Stowaway” has a cool back-and-forth from super clean guitars (sounds like Chris is using his Fender Mustang on the licks here) on the verses and fuzzing-up the choruses.

Another real stand-out is the pounding, staccato-chords and memorable chorus of “Diamonds, Garbage & Gold”, which is sure to have you bouncing around while singing along! More 12-string psyche combining with noise-drenched fuzz (love the tone he’s getting here!) in “Heyday”, which could be about any number of people!

The band pulls most everything together for the finale – “Losers Win”. Soaring harmonies, cool beat, 12 string working with the 6 string to create a full sound, fine melody and, I swear, even a nod to the Sweet, though that might be my imagination!

The Loons continue their growth as a band with many influences, so don’t expect a pure garage/r’n’b experience, but do expect fine, well-written songs and fantastic musicianship! Another highly recommended outing from these cats!