Joel Chaffee
contributor
June 14, 2007
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Lament for Children Lament for Children
March 13, 2007
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Rock Music Reviews
Loch Lomond
Lament for Children

There is an eerie, rural jungle quality to Lament for Children, Loch Lomond’s second release, as though, if they chose, they could be the creepiest band on the frontier. ‘Tic’ relates, ‘Just like a tic / I’m swelling full of blood,’ an apt description of the LP’s constant tension candied with melodies that, while not ‘Good Vibrations,’ are pop. ‘Tic,’ in particular, has something of a toe-tapping Shaman about it, something of prescient skies, mountains, spirits.

‘Grandad & Toothache’ and opener ‘Bird and Bear’ recall an ancient traveling band reciting unheard classics from an oral tradition. I thought of the minstrels from Bergman’s Seventh Seal. It is a haunting and vulnerable sound, accentuated by the fervorous vocals of group leader Ritchie Young.

Lament occasionally sidesteps from its rustic sincerity and gradual tension in favor of the more immediate (I hope I’m not erroneously ascribing motivation) in synth&dance track, ‘Spine,’ the least like the others and, perhaps not incidentally, not as endearing; or the few moments (particularly opener ‘Bird and Bear’) when I’d wished the vocal intensity had been nudged down from a wail to a protestation; or the meandering but finally passive ‘I Love Me.’

The penultimately successful ‘Nelson Family’ waltzes itself around as though out of old photographs before diving into a bass-funked rally that is the grandest moment on the record. ‘Grandad & Toothache,’ Laments choicest song, billows like a cloud-covered dream, dark outlines of sheets in the portentous wind, building to a haunting chorus before unfolding and billowing again, intoning, ‘I think we can blame Grandad / For toothaches / La la la la la.’

At their most effective, the two just mentioned and ‘Mother’s Turned To Salt,’ the band’s acoustics, banjos, violins and accordions make for a charming, enchanting and delicate affair. The calling of muses, the dark summer night.

Release date: March 13, 2007
Label: Hush Records
Rating: 7.0 / 10

On the web: http://www.hushrecords.com/ll.htm
[RMR]