Chamber folk sextet releases intricate album
The Portland-based sextet Loch Lomond has grown in popularity in the Pacific Northwest after a number of releases and touring with the Decemberists.
The band’s second full-length album, “Little Me Will Start A Storm,” was released Feb. 22 and is proof that the emerging chamber-folk subgenre, which incorportates elements and instruments of classical music with modern indie folk/folk rock is quite viable.
Frontman Ritchie Young leads the band with his distinct vocal talent, weaving in and out of falsetto and displaying his wide singing range. Clever orchestration fills in the rest of each song with a variety of instruments, along with singing from other members of the band.
These elements are combined in such a way that each song sounds elaborate but never cluttered.
The album in its entirety is elegant, intriguing and a little dark at times but still catchy with simple, amusing melodies.
The opening track, “Blue Lead Fences,” is upbeat and rhythmically driven, but the album soon descends into slower tempos,
lighter melodies and a more soothing atmosphere. This descent continues throughout the album with a more contemplative mood replacing the lighter, more comforting one.
The second track, “Elephants & Little Girls,” opens with an absolutely beautiful melody on the clarinet that reworks itself throughout the song. This track is undoubtedly the prettiest piece on the album and is a clear illustration of the band’s talent in knowing where to insert
what instrument. A clarinet pops up here and there, a viola entwines itself around the melody at key points and aglockenspiel chiming is present occasionally, among incorporated instruments.
“Elephants & Little Girls” is followed by the darker “I Love Me,” the more traditional folk-sounding “Blood Bank,” with its simple sway in triple meter, and the pretty instrumental piece “Water Bells,” which features the always lovely musical saw.
However, the dénouement of the album is reached on the seventh track, “Water In Astoria.” The song employs all of the best techniques featured on the album to create a natural and harmonious atmosphere.
“Little Me Will Start A Storm” is short, at a total of 34 minutes, but it is exceedingly sweet and never actually feels short. Each song is
given just the right amount of time to shine and merge with the others in an intricate tapestry. The album can sound dark at times, but the lyrics maintain a lighthearted feel, and the music never allows itself to become entrenched in a dark and somber mood like other music can.
Anyone with a slight interest in today’s folk music scene will enjoy “Little Me Will Start a Storm” and it’s subtle, yet effective,
variations on the genre.
Tune in to KSLC 90.3 FM to hear tracks from “Little Me Will Start A Storm.” The track “Elephants & Little Girls” is available for free download at
Loch Lomond will play its record release show on Feb. 26 in Portland at the Alberta Rose Theater.
Braden Smith KSLC 90.3