Upon first hearing “Beach Town”, the first officially available track off Le Loup‘s sophomore release Family, I noted how it was surprisingly reminiscent of recent Papercuts. I failed to mention that the two artists shared a stage at CMJ 2007, where I saw each lay down a phenomenal set. Well, listening to Family in its entirety, I’m struck by two thoughts.
First: Here’s the Le Loup I remember from The Throne, filled with all the mystery and eclecticism that surrounded that early album. However, the band has most definitely progressed from the tormented darkness so very likely inspired by Dante’s Inferno. A corner has been turned and the dark dementia has been put to slumber; in its place the dawning of hope, joy, elation. Easily it’s a part of songs like “Beach Town”, which ring with positive energy, and “Grow”, which possesses an almost joyous tribal element.
Second: Family is an aptly titled LP. Listening to title track “Family”, one is treated with multi-vocal parts backed by highly melodic instrumental drone and the tribal-like percussion noted earlier. Where The Throne found front-man Sam Simkoff reveling in the torment that is loneliness, he seems to have found solace in surrounding himself with those who mean so much to him. This sound continues in “Forgive Me” and “Sherpa”.
In true Le Loup form, Simkoff and company treat Family like a concept album, rounding things out in “Neahkahnie” with a recap fit for a reprise version of “Beach Town”. It’s strange that one wouldn’t immediately categorize Le Loup’s sound with experimental contemporaries like Animal Collective and Deerhunter. Family proves that not connecting them is an absolute folly. If anything, closing track “A Celebration” will tell you that.
Hardly Art [CD, 2009]
1. Saddle Mountain
2. Beach Town
4. Morning Song
6. Forgive Me
7. Go East
8. Golden Bell
11. A Celebration