Pompeii
Loom


5.0
classic

Review

by Jared P. STAFF
April 29th, 2018 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "If you want to know a bitter truth, I have only lied to you."

Pompeii are of the notion that an album needs to be an album, as they have stated themselves in their October, 2014 interview with The Seventh Hex: ”Making albums and appreciating them as one complete thought from start to finish remains an important virtue to the band,” lead songwriter Dean Stratford told the interviewer. The collective whole of each of their releases needs to have a general theme and work together as one unit when played front to back, more or less. Given the immediacy of the internet and this generation’s weak attention spans – speaking widely – the vast majority of music listeners miss out on the impact of experiencing a full album that artists such as Pompeii craft. It’s all too common that these individuals hop from single to single, looking for a basic catchy hook fix, and miss out on a plethora of quality material in the process: i.e. the mainstream.

Ironically 2014’s Loom is the one album in Pompeii’s discography that is concrete proof of Stratford’s claim regarding their music: This is an album, as he defined it. Loom came after a five-year hiatus for the band where they sat back after 2008’s more basic Nothing Happens For A Reason and really took their time to write something powerful and moving. They lost their cellist Caitlin Bailey within the time between releases and instead began to work with the Tosca String Quartet to fill in the gap where they felt they needed strings in their alternative-indie pallet. Band-friend Christopher Cox wrote the string arrangements, based on what the band gave him for within the songs themselves, and then the quartet filled in the rest.

The atmosphere Loom creates is what sets it apart and above Pompeii’s prior albums. The opening title-track for Loom only states one lyrical motif over and over: “For one second life, for once in your life, in one single lifetime.” No object to the prepositional phrase is ever revealed by the singer. Instead the piano, strings, and drum build-up that encompasses and caresses Stratford’s voice seem to suggest a personal subject in the way the sound makes you feel. The atmosphere that comes forth from the opener is one of heartbreak and nostalgia, and this is the over-arching theme that Pompeii have embedded into the whole of Loom. Similar works from There Will Be Fireworks’ The Dark, Dark Bright and Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism are immediate draw points for comparison strictly because of the mood Loom conveys.

Songs don’t follow a set verse-chorus structure throughout their lengths, so often a song’s main hook is only heard once. Single “Blueprint” is a great example of this. Brisk reverb-y guitars follow Stratford through a verse that starts to build on Rob Davidson’s rolling drumbeat and the quartet’s cycling string arrangement. Stratfords kicks up the intensity in his voice, declaring, “If you want to know a bitter truth, I have only lied to you. It doesn’t matter,” which is the climax and the chorus of the song and stands as one of Loom’s defining moments. It’s catchy, and while at first you may wish that the band had repeated the moment several times throughout “Blueprint’”s length, the fact that it only occurs once makes its impact much more stronger in context of both the song and the whole of Loom as well.

Stratford stated in the same interview with The Seventh Hex that he had been listening to a lot of shoegaze music before recording Loom, and that coupled with the analog synth work of guitarist Erik Johnson give Loom a very reverb-drenched and delayed sound that is quite hypnotic and soothing. “Frozen Revise” follows the earnest longing of “Frozen Planet” with deep shoegaze keys that jangle and hang off Stratford’s heartbroken words. The effect is lulling, if sad sounding as well. Closer “Drift” hinges on Johnson’s guitar delay pedal for a more shoegaze-like sound while Stratford ends the album on a reflective note that finds the singer in a regretful, nostalgic mood: “You know, I am thinking of tomorrow. I am trying to forget. It’s nothing that I am not used to.”

This sullen ending comes after Loom’s best and longest song, the six-minute “Sleeper”. Shoegaze synths return and paint a vivid if bleak wasteland that finds Stratford haunted as he runs into an ex-lover during the song’s string-laced, epic climax: “You stop with a stare. I shifted my view. Turning my ears from your words, but I already knew. I already knew,” Stratford croons, repeating the line “I already knew,” over and over for dramatic effect. Here, similarly to Loom’s title-track, the subject of what the singer knew is never revealed but is instead left up to the listener as it relates to him or her on a personal level. “Sleeper’”s effect gives evidence to why Loom is so successful at being an album, as the band defined it, through and through. The overarching theme of heartbreak and nostalgia stay valid throughout, and each song aids the others around it, forming a definitive album path that few releases in the whole of the music world can honestly match. Loom is not an experience to be overlooked and missed.



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user ratings (21)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Observer
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2018


7034 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Album stream for any interested.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PBXh_c_OWI



Sup guys?





Digging: Reuben - In Nothing We Trust

JustJoe.
April 29th 2018


6867 Comments


Nice review.

It's tougher nowadays to really capture that "album" vibe. It seems more of a relic of the '90s & into the indie movement of the 2000's. But maybe my scope is too limiting as there is merit to this singles based approach. It just isn't where I most frequent as a listener.

Digging: AL-90 - CODE?-915913

Observer
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2018


7034 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah there is merit certainly. I'm not against mainstream music, be it pop, rock, electronic, whatever, and I find looking for catchy hit singles fun and exciting as a listener. In fact, it's mainly what I listen to when I go running daily as hooks are great for motivation. Hit singles keep the whole industry afloat after all since they sell the most.



I definitely think good albums exist nowadays though and are still being made. They will never be as appreciated as they should be, but I guess that's the fun part of finding them, diamonds in the rough and such.



thank you.



JustJoe.
April 29th 2018


6867 Comments


Well said, indeed.

Observer
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2018


7034 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Album needs more love. Real gem here.

hogan900
January 29th 2019


3055 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

People sleep on this so hard smh

Observer
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2019


7034 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah beautiful release

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
February 16th 2019


8001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hardcore Weird Fishes/Arpeggi vibes at the beginning of Frozen Planet, this is wonderful so far

Digging: Blood Cultures - Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs

Observer
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2019


7034 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awesome, thanks for checking it out.



sleeper is probably my favorite song of the decade, i think

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
February 16th 2019


8001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just finished, I think the first half is just a bit better than the 2ND but incredible album overall and yeah Sleeper is just wow

Observer
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2019


7034 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this one I have returned to a lot over the past five years. I loved it initially at release, but "right album right place" during some relationship chaos in 2014-2016 made it beyond perfect for me. What's great is while some of the lyrics are distinct and upfront in their meanings, other's aren't and are much more vague in comparison. The band rides the line between the two perfectly though, to where its a concrete message every time I hear it.



Hope you return to it, it grows extremely well.

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
February 17th 2019


8001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will definitely give it some more spins soon, it's a beauty for sure

hogan900
February 17th 2019


3055 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Rescue is prob my favorite, the ending is just lovely

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 19th 2019


32091 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If you were ever wondering what perfection sounds like, this is it right here.

Digging: Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell

hogan900
March 19th 2019


3055 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

YES SOWING

Observer
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2019


7034 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

sweet man, welcome to the club

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 19th 2019


32091 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The whole album is amazing, but both Loom and Rescue are otherworldly. Two of the best songs from this decade if I can be so forwardly decisive.

Observer
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2019


7034 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

loom is the quintessential opener for sure.



my fav is by far sleeper still.



this thing has such a great flow to it track to track

hogan900
March 20th 2019


3055 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

rescue is def my favorite



But its the only way I know

dmathias52
March 21st 2019


847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well. This is is ridiculous. I’d just like to give a shout out to Ekspedition too

Digging: Courtney Swain - Between Blood and Ocean



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