Loop - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - - Soundblab

Loop - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Rich Morris Rating:2 Release Date:2012-08-20

Full disclosure: I was not meant to be reviewing this gig. I’m a last minute stand-in because the original reviewer is ill. I’m not a big fan of drone-rock and I’d never heard Loop before tonight. So what you’re going to get here is emphatically not a fan’s perspective, as will no doubt become clear…

First up are support band The KVB, who I should have missed but didn’t thanks to gigs always running late at the dear old Brudenell. The black-clad duo’s opening number bears a heavy debt to Neu!, which is always welcome. However, from their second song on it becomes clear that this band are intent of rocking the early-80s post-punk/early goth sound as refracted through shoegaze and The Horrors.

That’s not a bad thing, although this style has been thoroughly explored by quite a few bands recently, most notably, erm, The Horrors. Like The Horrors, they chuck in a bit of early Simple Minds on the likeable ‘346’, and they also vary their drum-machine beats a little, mixing in some glitter-beat and industrial crunch. Mostly, however, this is standard ‘dark side of the 80s’ megamix stuff. The best thing about The KVB, in fact, isn’t their music, it’s the bewitching presence of synth-player Kat Day, who beats singer/guitarist Klaus Von Barrel in the torpor stakes by remaining virtually static though the entire set while looking like Sadako’s gothy teen sister.

So I’m not a big drone-rock fan. Which doesn’t mean I’m against it; I’ve got albums by Earth and Swans. Drone has a venerable lineage within rock, stretching from early Velvets through Krautrock and the proto-goth of bands like The Cure into shoegaze and post-rock. So I’m open-minded about Loop. Plus I’m with a mate who’s a big fan. But, oh boy, am I disappointed.

It’s hard to know where to start with a live experience this crushingly dull. I get that the point of the band’s music is repetition, but is every song really meant to sound the same? Virtually every number starts with a simple bass riff and a leaden drumbeat before some feedback slathers everything for about four minutes, and then it ends. Yeah, it’s loud but it’s also boring and so predictable. It doesn’t matter how loud you’re playing if I simply stop paying attention.

I think the music would be a little less enervating if the vocals had any force behind them at all, but frontman Robert Hampson’s voice is nothing more than an ineffectual, disengaged wisp beneath the sludge. Plus he looks like Paul Weller, which I personally find unconscionable. I actually start to feel genuine anger towards Hampson as he waffles pointlessly through yet another dirge, looking like he’s watching a particularly uninvolving episode of Homes Under the Hammer. Why is he putting me through this? Somehow the fact that he can’t even be bothered to look like he’s enjoying causing me such discomfort makes it even worse.

The worst song of the evening has to be ‘Burning World’, which manages to sound like an especially shit bit of an early Suede track stretched out to near infinity, with a bit of flange thrown on top as a ‘cosmic’ afterthought. It’s depressing, and even the band look horribly bored with the sound they’re making, like a caged hen listlessly watching its own foulage seep onto the floor.

And that’s the thing about this kind of music: being loud might be an integral part of it, but volume alone is not enough. Yes, the force of it might be initially impressive, but only in the same way that a particularly loud, wet fart is impressive. The loudness of Loop’s music is produced by their equipment, not by the band themselves. Producing a particularly noisesome air biscuit by tensing the ring of your anus and squeezing your shit-gas through the miniscule apertures actually requires more skill. On tonight’s evidence, farting is an art-form to which Loop can only aspire. 

Comments (4)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I think you have to be into a band like Loop to appreciate them live. I loved them at ATP but had the same feeling about Mogwai as I'm not a fan.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Yeah I listened to some of their stuff on Youtube and I actually like a few tracks. They just seemed to really lack energy live. Maybe hung over from atp.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great interview, I love how comfortable the conversation feels.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks, Joseph! Linnell is old hat at this sort of stuff, so I'll give him all the credit.

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles
Loop - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - - Soundblab
Loop - Array 1
  • 07/15/2015
  • By Jeff Penczak