After gigging heavily for several years in Oxford, Loopy relocated to Winchester not too long ago where they’ve continued to play live. They have now found time to record their first album. Often likened to the Housemartins but with larger guitars, their ‘Scuffed’ LP opens with the mildly infectious ‘This Sound’.
Sprinkled with jangly sixties-flavoured guitars and a bouncy, happy go lucky bass, ‘This Sound’ boldly launches straight into its hooky, sing-a-long chorus before dropping down into the verse. First impressions are dominated by the superb vocal harmonies of both the chorus and the bridge which, along with the clean guitar sound of the verse, bring to mind some of Crowded House’s better moments. Unfortunately, by launching straight into the chorus/bridge/chorus the track gives up all of its surprises in the first 30 seconds, which is a shame as it doesn’t give the catchy chorus the build up it rightly deserves.
Ironically the third track, ‘Sunshine Walking’, manages to slip in a hooky (but far too short) bridge giving the chorus the sort of run up the opening tune needed. However, the difference here is that when the chorus arrives it fails to capitalise on all this good work by coming across as a bit too simplistic for a track that has a lot going on. The verses are tight but the interlude in the middle also needs to be a bit stronger in order to keep the momentum going and add something to the song.
That said what this song has got is those Crowded House harmonies, some really tight drumming, a smattering of intelligently used brass, and a great dirty guitar that kicks in at the later stages to round off the track with a minor maelstrom of foot tapping happiness. There are certainly a few niggles but on the whole this is a pretty good tune which shows a lot of promise.
‘Can’t Hide Your Love’ is certainly another song of note. Starting with a Cure-like guitar intro it slips straight into its up tempo, pop rocking verse which is tight throughout and builds nicely into yet another sing-a-long chorus (with added la, la, las in the latter stages). While clearly very formulaic in structure, it still manages to retain its sense of fun which, despite the obvious clichés, gives it an air of fluffy freshness.
But perhaps the best track on the album though, is hidden right at the end in the form of ‘Blue Cortina (Just Another Year)’. Opening with a great combination of Hammond organ and dirty guitar strumming, formulaic and clichéd this song is not, with twists and turns aplenty. As with all the tunes on Scuffed this is a tight, bouncy, happy affair with matching lyrics to boot.
The vocal harmonies, which really underline Loopy’s sound, are present as ever, thought the combination of the song’s structure, the great piano/sing-a-long middle bit, the crunchy guitars, and variety of sounds emanating from the Hammond organ elevate this track above most of the others.
In ‘Scuffed’, Loopy have come up with ten foot-shuffling, pop-orientated tunes with a strong sixties retro feel and an underlying sense of blind optimism. When all this is combined, it serves up the sort of album that nearly convinces you it is still summer outside; even though the goldfish are frozen solid in the pond. Refreshing stuff!
Written by Habert on