The Upshot: Dreamy SoCal indie pop that transcends both genre and geographic borders.
BY FRED MILLS
With their breezy, jazzy, cabaret-esque brand of sunshine pop, L.A. husband-and-wife team Loch & Key are the perfect antidote to the new dark ages contemporary society finds itself immersed – unwillingly, for most of us – in. if 2010’s Jupiter’s Guide For Submariners was more aligned with traditional indie rock of the era, Slow Fade finds the group sounding less like SoCal scenesters and more like trans-national scene stealers – clearly, over the past few years, Sean Hoffman (ex-American Music Club) and Leyla Akdogan have refined their vision to such a point that “dreamy” and “edgy” can coexist within a single tune, from Hoffman’s brash guitar work to Akdogan’s sensual, breathy vocal coos to a general sense of anything goes, arrangement-wise.
Highlights? “More Tales of the Could’ve Been Kid” is sinewy and sexy, its synth/guitar attack and opiated vocals suggesting Garbage fronted by Hope Sandoval. Album standout “Barstow” is a mesmerizing slice of minimalist psychedelia (speaking of Mazzy Star!) that will have you putting the track on perpetual “repeat.” “A Throne for the Clouds” is a thrumming, cinematic-esque number that finds both players sharing the mic, with tingly results. “Gil Perez” updates the classic Laurel Canyon folky sound for newcomers to the fold while inviting fans of Francoise Hardy to drive up into the hills and join the party. And in 2017, to conjure images of vintage doo-wop is to thwart all genre expectation; here, “Big Cats” finds an a capella chorus of Leylas harmonizing with such effortless grace that one imagines the vocal form revival starting here.
Easily one of the more delightful surprises of the year – and the perfect way to close things out on an optimistic note.
Consumer Note: Grab the vinyl, naturally!
DOWNLOAD: “Barstow,” “More Tales of the Could’ve Been Kid,” “Gil Perez”