Loma – Loma (Sub Pop) *Editor’s Pick
Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg pairs with Cross Record on a record that moves with the glacial pace of a deteriorating relationship, interwoven by a template of cavernous chamber pop and 90s slowcore. Cross Record’s multi-instrumentalist Dan Duszynski and lead singer Emily Cross were married when they began this collaboration, but split at some point during the recording process. It’s not clear whether their breakup influenced the direction of the album, but the record unfolds with layers of overwhelming melancholy that make a strong case for it. Isolation can be quite purifying. The compositions feel heavy with the burden of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, an album bred from destructive inner-band tension. Despite the toxicity lying underneath, Loma displays a kind of artistic chemistry that coheres almost inherently. Tracks “Dark Oscillations” and “Who is Speaking?” ripple with a veneer of ornate string arrangements and acoustic balladry. Loma is a rare record that actually makes use of organic tones to amplify emotional expression, rather than using it to relish in gratuitous sentimentality. The musicality feels natural, like the instinct of breathing.
Trial Track: “Dark Oscillations”