Common Loon – The Long Dream of Birds

January 01, 1970

(Parasol Records)


Matthew Campbell and Robert Hirschfeld, who comprise this
Champaign, Ill.-based act, have known each other since kindergarten, and have
probably shared record collections beginning shortly after that as well. Based
on this promising 11-song debut set, you’d bet that shared experience spanned
the psych-rock gamut from late-era Beatles and the Beach Boys to Spiritualized
and Grandaddy, who all factor in here. Opener “Dinosaur Vs. Early Man” seems to
compile psych pop influences from Magical
Mystery Tour, Lazer Guided Melodies
, and even Beachwood Sparks into a perfect three-minute acid trip highlighting
wistful organ splashes, gently distorted guitars and one vocal track trailing
dreamily after the other. “Greenland” may even do more with less, like vintage
Spiritualized, its trippy Moog and loopy, drugged-out bass lines the leavening
for the airy, echoed refrain: “touching, touching, touching down on Greenland.”


Elsewhere, Common Loon rely on repetitive melody lines
driven across with fuzzy guitars and even fuzzier keys for dynamic contrast,
sounding like the Clientele in some places (“Happy Ending”) and Jason Lytle’s
psych punk elsewhere (“Ho-Hum Apocalypse”). The longer songs drift a bit,
though each is salvaged: “Palestine Everywhere” has an urgent outro/crescendo
compelling enough to make you forget that the five-and-a-half-minute song could
do with a 90-second trim; “A Prayer for Hemophelia (sic)” goes from recalling
the Beatles’ “Rain” to recalling Ummagumma-era
Pink Floyd at its noisy bridge, which helps you forget there’s not much there
there, chorus-wise; and disc-ender “A Moment in Energy Transfer” combines
heavily reverbed guitar, atom-mashing percussion and Moog oscillations in such
dynamic textures that it almost doesn’t matter how long it goes on. Common Loon
could do with a touch more polish, songwriting-wise, but everything else seems
to be in place, making for the kind of promising debut that has folks eagerly
anticipating what comes next.


“Greenland” “Happy Ending”




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