Written by Maria Arroyo
After releasing a highly-acclaimed, self-released EP, Loving returns with a full-length LP titled If I Am Only My Thoughts due out on January 31 via Last Gang Records.
Loving is a three-piece band with members, David Perry, and brothers Lucas and Jesse Henderson. They actually met years ago in the western forests of Canada, where they all spent their summers planting trees.
The opening song, “Visions,” speaks well of their folk and psychedelic sound and was a tremendous choice for the first song. The lead vocals for this song had an airier quality to them, so I’m thinking maybe they were not as compressed as they could have been because some of the consonants were pushing through the rest of the mix. With that being said, his voice worked well for their folk and singer/songwriter style.
The song “Only She Knows” had a more shoegaze approach, which paired well with their sound; whereas, “Later in Another Time” and “Stranger To Yourself” took a direction with a more relaxed ambient feel.
“If I Am Only My Thoughts” was definitely a great turning point for the album. The style of vocals was a little more of the direction I wanted the album to go in and the lyrics felt like something completely different and original.
On the song “January”, it had this amazing melodic piano intro that really set up the remainder of the song for success, while also staying true to their sound. “A Mirror For Two Voices” had this intro that felt like it was meant to confuse the listener, so it really was a creative choice and not something I would have ever thought of doing. The bass line was much more present than in the other songs, which was great to round out their sound. In the middle of the song, it almost stops completely and then picks up into what felt like a darker outro without vocals.
“Nihilist Kite Flyer” had a nice electric guitar solo, but unfortunately, I felt it was too short and it was one of the things that stood out to me the most. Their next couple of songs, “Simple Moon” and “Write A River”, added a little more differentiation in their sound with some more modern synth ideas that really vamped up their sound. I wish they would let that spill into their other songs. “Write A River” had this feeling of one of those old-timely french films from way back when which worked so well with their sound and overall aesthetic!
Their closing song “Growing Flowers By Candlelight” had an impressive bass intro and the track had a washier and more relaxed appeal to it. The tambourine was a nice touch and how it was recorded and mixed added to the haunted ambiance this song had. I loved where this was placed in the album and loved that even though it was an instrumental track, it kept me captivated. Definitely one of the top ones for me!
Overall, it’s a very laid back, funky, and carefree album. There didn’t seem to be any risk-taking or exploration of different sounds in the vocals or melodies, which kept the album from standing out as it should have. However, the creative choices in the instrumentation were executed so well. I hope that the risk-taking is also considered for the vocals in their future albums. Lyrically, the songs were different, but I felt all of the songs sounded too similar in their instrumentation even with some of their little surprises. This was a great starting album and their sound is truly their own! Maybe changing their formula just a little bit is the kind of change they need to go from good to great!