Tightened and energized by seven plus years of music-making, San Francisco-based, five-piece outfit Loquat arrives at its second full length with some major confidence. Secrets of the Sea is an assured and thoroughly listenable slab of amorphous rock. The 11 tracks expand and jigsaw into a unified whole, sounding like a roadtrip radio set on low frequencies and continually fuzzing in and out of short range, uber-cool college radio stations, the kind that unearths those jubilant b-sides full of endearing lyrical dispatches and fluid, genre-bent pop songs.
On opening track, “Harder Hit,” tidy guitars tremble over a reverb-soaked, ethereal wail, an ear-capturing combo that only further entrances with the addition of Kylee Swenson’s full-tilt, Chryssie Hynde-esque vocals. The casual simplicity of the album’s first words, a nondescript question, (“What’s this trail right down here? / It’s not going anywhere”) instantly aligns the listener with Swenson’s point of view. “Sit Sideways” dives into a chilly synth-disco trot, plucky guitars circling inward until a catchy fuzz-guitar chorus takes flight. The track finds its melancholic refrains within the seasick loneliness of a single sail binge, our unnamed protagonist popping pills and drinking hard, finding his inner fears mirrored by a spookily endless blank horizon. The tottering rock of “Shaky Like the Flu” and “Go Hibernate” mix silky musicianship with matter-of-fact relationship drama. Loquat’s fierce melodies and spry, engrossing song structures make Secrets of the Sea a definite victory.
Favorite Track: “Go Hibernate”
Reviewer Bio - Christopher j Ewing is a writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles with a girl and a designer dog. He is in a band by himself, has a myspace account at www.myspace.com/wastedpotentialproduction and a production company at (www.wastedpotentialproductions.com) for freelance film, video and journalism work.