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Uncut NOVEMBER 2020 - by Lisa-Marie Ferla
LOMA: DON'T SHY AWAY
Second innings from Cross Record/Shearwater collaboration
Loma's 2018 self-titled debut was intended as a one-ff, but the trio - Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski of minimalist duo Cross Record and Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg - realised there was more to explore after an unexpected radio shoutout from Brian Eno. Fittingly, then, a long-distance production credit from Eno - Homing, a haunted thanksgiving of a track that gets lusher and brighter across its sprawling length - closes this otherwise self-produced second. Elsewhere, droning brass, atmospheric melodies and Cross's otherworldly vocals blend to absorbing effect on the lush, wild Ocotillo, while on Breaking Waves Like A Stone, the vocals lift the melody out of frantic, piano-driven chaos.
The three-piece on maintaining a collective identity
"None of us know where the songs are going at any moment, and none of us is in charge," says Loma, when asked what sets the trio's work apart from their other creative projects (they ask for their words here to be credited to the band, rather than individuals). "It's exciting but risky, and sometimes the songs hit the rocks, but we make choices together we'd never make on our own."
Reconvening after a gruelling tour in support of their self-titled debut, Emily Cross and Jonathan Meiburg joined bandmate Dan Duszynski at his home in rural texas to work on instrumentals while "trying not to care if what we were making was Loma or not." Their second album gradually revealed itself over the course of a "year of trial and error" - a process that, once the songs that were the cornerstones of the album were in place, the band compares to "filling in a crossword puzzle".
Among those cornerstones is Homing, a track that the band sent to Brian Eno after he said "some very kind things" about an earlier song on a BBC radio show. His mix "turned up in the middle of the night" six months later.
"We were a little afraid to listen, but there was no need: he'd done that mysterious and wonderful thing he does, tweaking the sound in subtle but profound ways," they say. "For him to be part of the album felt like winning a Nobel Prize."