Loma
Don't Shy Away


4.0
excellent

Review

by Bassman91 USER (2 Reviews)
August 4th, 2021 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Remember believing?

The only reason Loma has a sophomore album for me to review, and far more importantly for us all to listen to, is because this Texas trio caught the attention of Brian Eno, who was heard on BBC radio lauding the song “Black Willow” from their debut album. When a friend of Emily Cross, the voice of Loma, shared this information with her, the fluke band that would have been more than happy with a one-off album began to consider producing something more. That something more became Don’t Shy Away, an accomplished and cohesive album whose sparse instrumentation and spiritual undertones quickly become reminiscent of Talk Talk’s final two albums, and though Loma never achieves the heights of these enigmatic masterworks, they never intend to. They produce something that is wholly themselves, an ambient pop record that occasionally nods to the later works of Hollis without ever being derivative.

Sparse does not adequately describe the entire album, as it continually oscillates between hollow build-ups (“I Fix My Gaze,” “Thorn,” “Jenny”) to the crescendo of a catchy pop song (“Ocotillo,” “Half Silences,” “Given a Sign”). However, the songs themselves are anything but typical, as Dan Duszynski and Jonathan Meiburg’s instrumentation augments Emily’s voice without demanding attention, only ever giving the songs what they call for and nothing more. This professional humility allows Loma a way of deftly giving each song a pulse that drives the album forward without relying on any singular element. The album seems to breathe, not only possessing life but pursuing it, just as the album cover suggests.

The lyrics of Emily Cross add to the album’s cohesion and give it a definite focus that centers around the struggles of a woman to make sense of her romantic relationships, a common theme, through the lens of her belief in a creator, a much less common theme, especially when done well. In the titular song “Don’t Shy Away,” she writes, “I know you don’t like shallow understanding…I know you don’t like missionary life…Don’t shy away from me.” Are these the words of Emily to a lover? Is this a divine message to Emily herself? Intentionally equivocal words like these are what make the lyrics of the album stand out as more than banal professions of faith or unrequited love. Almost every song on the album lends itself to analysis and interpretation, but since these things are best left to the individual listener, I leave you to make your own judgements.

The album reaches its end with the closer “Homing,” which admittedly sounded out of place upon first listen. Although I now see the song as the most fitting an end as could be asked for, I may have a justification for my first impression: Brian Eno got his filthy British hands all over it. Knowing that Eno fancied them, Loma decided to take a shot in the dark. They sent him the rough tracks of “Homing” and gave him free reign to do with it as he liked. Their immodest invitation was met with radio silence, which one can imagine was more than a little disheartening, until late one night an email came in with no message, only files. Despite some apprehension about potentially disliking his additions, the band loved what they heard, and the final product was one that offered a distinctly Eno synth to a recognizably Loma song. What at first I thought of as a misstep I now see as the perfect end to an album full of life, the conclusion of which is less a swan song than an arrival, which the legendary figure helped them attain.

Don’t Shy Away is a sonic exploration of uniquely feminine spirituality, whose mellifluous beauty and lyrical directness I could not help but hear as a counterpart to the enigmatic beauty and lyrical obfuscation of Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock, an exploration of uniquely masculine spirituality. You may think this comparison is undeserved and irrelevant, and you may be right; this is simply where my sensibilities led me. The important thing is that you give this album a complete listen, beginning to end, as it is one of those that demands it. Listen and be rewarded.


user ratings (26)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
August 4th 2021


32073 Comments


So happy to see a review for this, good job!

zaruyache
August 5th 2021


27531 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

band great!

Bassman91
August 5th 2021


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Much appreciated Dewinged!

Trifolium
August 5th 2021


39382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey! Great that you reviewed this, I liked this one.



Lovely review too, nice to learn about the history behind this record (which I did not know yet!). POSd!

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
August 5th 2021


32073 Comments


I really like this one but their debut is pfffffff amazing, you checked it Trifo?

Trifolium
August 5th 2021


39382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No I haven't! Should get on that then.

SublimeSound
August 5th 2021


109 Comments


Great review. Pos'd

Did a great job at capturing the ethereal nature of this album: glad it got a review.

Loma is amazing live, too. I saw them a couple of years ago and it came together like a multimedia art exhibition/prayer circle. Unforgettable.

Sabrutin
August 6th 2021


9841 Comments


band great! [2]

budgie
March 11th 2022


36867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

totally forgot this came out checking now

budgie
March 11th 2022


36867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im on track #3 and at this rate (pls maintain rate) it's a 4.5

havent been this entranced by a new listen in a long time

budgie
March 11th 2022


36867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

finishing up LP now

wooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

TheWatchman71
July 9th 2023


343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just discovered this as a track from the album came in during the random infinity mode on Apple Music. This is sublime stuff.

ReefaJones
August 11th 2023


3722 Comments


Ocotillo just randomly got recommended by youtube. What a banger of a song. Will check the rest of later

Sabrutin
August 11th 2023


9841 Comments


classic "a bump! Please be a single" band

budgie
August 11th 2023


36867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

check first LP too

budgie
November 13th 2023


36867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

OOOCTOOOOLILLOOOOOOOOO

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
November 14th 2023


32073 Comments


Underrated band!

Sabrutin
June 1st 2024


9841 Comments


new album!!!

budgie
June 1st 2024


36867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh hells ya thanks for the notice



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