Right from the start, the medieval-tinged Saddle Mountains demonstrates that the Le Loup family has grown and changed since 2007’s debut release, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly.
What’s improved are the chants and sing-alongs with Family and Sherpa as standout favourites. In the latter, a nursery-rhyme-round builds and is surrounded by progressively chaotic percussion and harmonizing voices only to give way to the thick, reverberant chant and slinking rhythm guitar. Equally important is the increased prominence and deployment of simultaneous polyphonic rhythms. There are moments when you forget you are listening to Le Loup and instead exploring the pulsing imagination of Peter Gabriel.
Place was an important component of the creation of Family with Le Loup spending time in a North Carolina cabin away from the buzz of the internet and modern conveniences. The result, each song floats beautifully atop Le Loup‘s impressively developed sense for shifting, organic atmospheres. Celebration, the closing track on the album, emerges from the hiss and bubbles slowly reaching a driving, shaker-driven chug with tumbling guitars.
While Le Loup‘s evolution boasts songwriting credits from all five members, Sam Simkoff & Christian Ervin’s patriarchal touch is still highly evident if not only diluted. Grow sounds distinctly different from the efforts on Throne yet still honours the likes of Animal Collective and the Spectre-esque drum production that mark that release. Likewise concerning is the amount of reverb heaped on the lead vocals, at times decimating the intelligibility of lyrics.
As if offering us a seat at the table, Le Loup provides the “divided” tracks for Beach Town for remixing or covers. Favourite submissions will be awarded a shirt, CD or LP from the Le Loup shop. All submissions, “within the boundaries of good taste”, will be posted. And since the Ts are delightful I know how I will be spending my weekend. Visit http://www.leloupmusic.net/ for all of the details.