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Notes: Sophomore album from this D.C./Baltimore synth-folk crew, which now has five full-time members instead of just one.
"Displays a unique gift for melody and composition that deserves praise."
Charles Ubaghs 2009-09-08
It’s fitting that Washington DC’s Le Loup have named their second album Family. The band’s debut, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly (named after a famous piece of 20th century outsider art) fused electronic beats, spectral vocals and banjo-plucked melodies into a bold, inventive LP that also happened to be a one-man bedroom project created by Le Loup’s founder, Sam Simkoff – with some assistance from his friend and current bandmate Christian Ervin.
A one-man act needs to eat, though, so Simkoff put a musicians wanted ad up on popular classifieds website Craigslist and recruited multiple respondents to help him recreate his singular cyber-folk live. In the process, his solo endeavour was transformed into a fully-fledged band.
Which brings us back to the title of Le Loup’s second album. Made by a group of now closely-knit people, Family jettisons the sound of Le Loup the man and instead embraces the sound of Le Loup the band. Gone are the electronic flourishes that punctuated their debut. Instead, we get forays into dense psychedelic pop that heavily relies on the organic noises developed by the band since they became a touring entity.
Tipping a collective hat towards the current leading lights of the US indie fraternity, the pounding drums and tribal chanting of Forgive Me comes over all Arcade Fire down by the campfire with Animal Collective. Morning Song’s choirboy melodies recall Grizzly Bear at their most direct, and Neahkahnie perfects the Brian Wilson goes chamber-folk formula that made Fleet Foxes such a firm favourite among many a critic and listener last year.
Of course, this may read like Le Loup are simply chasing the tails of every other act to come out of Brooklyn in the past few years, but that would be doing the band a disservice. Family, and its electronic predecessor, displays a unique gift for melody and composition that deserve the praise showered upon the band’s like-minded peers.
Here’s to Le Loup, then: an unsung group of individuals coming together to create something we should all be paying close attention to.