“Where have they gone the amblers of yesteryear? Where have they gone, those loafing heroes of folk song, those vagabonds who wander from one mill to another and bed down under the stars?” Milan Kundera
…and that’s the story behind The Loafing Heroes’ name, taken from a novella by philosophical author Milan Kundera. The now four piece band originally began in Denmark with a chance meeting between Irishman Bartolo Rin and American JW. What followed was a second chance encounter for Bartolo which saw him introduced to a singer and guitarist from Berlin by the name of Juicy (otherwise known as John J. Juice). Final instalment and fellow Stateside clarinetist Jamie, hailing from Nebraska later joined the line up before the icing on the cake that came in the form of Nonny Dreamboat on percussion.
As a group their sound is built on collaborative efforts in contrast to earlier formations of the band which found Bartolo as the dominant songwriter, and on the whole perhaps draw vague comparisons, if purely for their imaginative amalgamation of almost dreamlike percussive soundscapes, to a lo-fi anti-electronica Efterklang. Chula is their second full length recording, following 2009’s Unterwegs, and again follows suit in a sound they describe as “a refreshing mix of bass clarinet, guitars, different vocals and tasty sounds from the percussion”.
With their influences coming from nature – well “mountains, ocean [and] forest” specifically; as well as “musicians, poets and philosophers; lost loves and vagabond[s]”, their subtle sounds build in both tempo and texture over the record’s course to incorporate a relaxing and still engaging mix of instrumentation and vocal nuances.
From the cyclical structure of ‘Template’, with fingerplucked guitar and oboe leading the way, as a string of repeated lyrics hold everything in a loosely regimented order, the Loafing Heroes present conscientious small band folk. Horn and wind instruments are combined with guitar and box drum on tracks like ‘Loose Force’ showcasing their instrumental abilities and ear for rhythmic melodies, while ‘Ocean Song’ proves the success of small conincidences, small sounds and slow build ups in conjuring something quite spectacular.
Review by: Melanie McGovern
All The Colours
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[audio:http://www.box.net/shared/static/nazkmyrdft.mp3|titles=Chula|artists=The Loafing Heroes]
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