Sorta local: Loch Lomond, Water & Bodies have new albums out today

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011, 12:38 pm by Ben Salmon

For years, Frequency has been following the careers of Portland-based bands Loch Lomond and Water & Bodies, thanks mostly to their Bend connections. Loch Lomond is fronted by Bend native Ritchie Young, and fellow Bendite Dave Depper plays alongside him. Similarly, Water & Bodies’ Beau Kuther comes from our humble burg. (His brother Kelsey recently left the band.) You can read our past coverage of both bands by clicking their names: Loch Lomond | Water & Bodies.

Today, both add a new album to their discography. Let’s take them in alphabetical order:

Loch Lomond
“Little Me Will Start A Storm” (Tender Loving Empire)

Loch Lomond’s “Little Me Will Start A Storm” begins with two of Ritchie Young’s finest songs yet: the plucky “Blue Lead Fences” and the first single “Elephants & Little Girls,” with its gentle melody and choral swells. (Download “Elephants” here.) The rest of the album features all of Loch Lomond’s trademark traits, most notably Young’s dramatic, porcelain voice, which floats above the band’s lissome blend of folk, pop and chamber music as if powered by pure helium. Loch Lomond stretches and swirls a bit on the gorgeous “Earth Has Moved Again,” experiments with kitchen-sink sounds in the clanky “Water in Astoria,” and takes a simple tack for “Egg Song” until about halfway through, when the tune opens up into a sweeping choral number fit for a concert hall. As with the band’s previous work, Young’s songs on “Storm” are oddly interesting and unpredictable things, and the band itself is a perfectly capable bunch of pickers. But the star of Loch Lomond’s show is, as always, a collection of stirring voices that sets this band apart from its peers.

Loch Lomond will play in Bend on March 7 at the Tower Theatre, with Damien Jurado and Viva Voce. More info is here.

Water & Bodies
“Light Year” (EYOS Records)

In a world/town/scene that increasingly values a wallflower quality in its music (think: shoegaze eyes, ironic awkwardness, affected restraint), Water & Bodies buck the trend, bashing out flashy alt-rock songs that demand attention. “Light Year” recalls the indie/emo landscape of the 1990s, when bands like Saves the Day and The Get Up Kids spiced their punk rock with the kind of massive hooks you expect from Weezer songs. The album’s first two tracks — “Celebration Song” and “Free World” — reveal a band unafraid of aural drama, where insistent drums, roiling rock riffs and soaring vocals collide with striking effect. And the roller-coaster synth hook and inspirational message of the third song, “Moments in a Life,” are tailor-made for the climactic scene of a big-budget film. “Light Year” sags a bit in its middle passage (“Echoes” is a little too post-Silverchair MTV Buzz Bin and the title track seems half-baked), but beginning with the chugging, catchy “1980,” Water & Bodies finishes strong, establishing itself as a band that not only demands attention, but also deserves it.

Water & Bodies will play in Bend on March 5 at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom with Tango Alpha Tango and Ex-Cowboys. More info is here.

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