LOMA – ” Don’t Shy Away “

Posted: October 22, 2020 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
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Loma’s “Don’t Shy Away”, their incredible and absorbing second album, will be available Friday, October 23rd worldwide through Sub Pop Records. The eleven-track effort, which features lyric videos for “Homing” and “Ocotillo” and official videos for “Half Silences,” “Don’t Shy Away,” “I Fix My Gaze,” and “Elliptical Days,” was produced and recorded by the band at Dandysounds in Dripping Strings, Texas—except for “Homing” , which was produced by Brian Eno. MOJO says of Don’t Shy Away, “Loma’s music unspools in vivid panoramas – sometimes downbeat and rainy, sometimes splashy and urgent, reminiscent of the mid-‘90s school of Bowery Electric post-rock. Yet the trio ensure all the glitches and layers (clarinet, brass, guitar) add bright pin-sharp accents not blurry textural flab, Cross’s voice glinting through ‘Blue Rainbow’s’ electro-cabaret judder or the Morphine-like rumble of ‘Ocotillo’ (4/5).” Exclaim! says: “Don’t Shy Away is ultimately as gratifying as it is ambitious. Brian Eno was right: Loma are the real deal (8/10).

Uncut praises the album’s’ “Atmospheric melodies” and how “Cross’ otherworldly vocals blend to absorbing effect (8/10,” while Secret Meeting raves, “Bigger in scope than the three piece’s self titled debut, “Don’t Shy Away” is on a whole other sonic level. It encourages us to not just exist in the spaces that we inhabit, but to find every possibility they could offer. As second records go, they don’t come much more mesmerically splendorous than this.” And Stereogum, in a glowing track review of “Elliptical Days,” says “Loma are making some gorgeous, otherworldly music.”

And today, BBC’s “6 Music” has made Don’t Shy Away its “Album of the Day.”

In celebration of the album’s release, Loma is presenting the “Don’t Shy Away” Sessions, a week-long series of live performances of songs from the album (and an interview with the band). The sessions via IGTV and Loma’s YouTube channel and were recorded in June 2020 in Dripping Springs, Texas.

Loma was conceived on the road, but the band was born in Dripping Springs, a slice of Texas Hill Country outside Austin with a population just shy of 5,000. Cross and Duszynski landed there seven years ago, when Cross happened upon an 18-acre ranch on Craigslist. Although Cross recently moved to the southern coast of England, the Dripping Springs locale still functions as a fully-outfitted recording studio and a home to Duszynski, Meiburg, and a brood of furry friends.

The ranch is situated next to an aviary, and the squawking birds who live there have offered uncredited contributors to both of Loma’s albums for Sub Pop: 2018’s self-titled debut and its recent follow-up, Don’t Shy Away. “You wake up to the sound of hundreds of parrots and macaws screaming their heads off,” Meiburg says, adding that the yelps and clucks of donkeys, peacocks, and chickens round out the ranch’s layered sonic character. Don’t Shy Away feels dark and warm and teeming with life, as if it were exclusively made in the hours when humans are quiet and wildlife chatters on. “The album is a lot about the beauty and the force of nature,” Cross says “That never loses relevance, no matter what’s happening, and maybe it is more relevant now.”

Emily Cross is the voice of Loma, but the group’s mercurial sound is a product of her work with recording engineer Dan Duszynski and Jonathan Meiburg of indie vets Shearwater. Cross and Duszynski, who used to be married, previously recorded experimental folk under the name Cross Record, and the duo opened up for Shearwater on tour in 2016. “I just never got tired of watching them,” Meiburg tells me. “I had this super music crush on them, so I said, ‘What if we made a baby together?’”

On Don’t Shy Away, elements of ambient, folk, free jazz, and pop dissolve into a singular sound that is deeply collaborative. Each member of Loma collectively shapes its songs; Meiburg writes the majority of the lyrics, but their delivery is molded by Cross and Duszynski. If Meiburg and Duszynski compose a melody, it is often Cross who contorts it into something grimier and more shadowy.

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