Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Album Review: Loma Prieta - I.V.

Album Rating: A
Lately, I’ve been finding it somewhat difficult to properly pen my thoughts on music, instead opting to either go through the motions, or simply lose what few words I had to begin with.  Whether it be from the complete ineffectuality of an album, or simply my utter disinterest, music has become increasingly difficult for me to discuss.  It happens from time to time, but every so often an album comes along that makes the words flow; a work that gets so much right that I’m absolutely compelled to spew my collective thoughts and opinions.  Loma Prieta’s I.V is one such album, and the refreshing vindication of a band that’s been almost there for far too long.

Loma Prieta has been an up and coming band in the emotional hardcore circuit for about half a decade now, releasing solid record after solid record.  Drawing inspirations from groups such as Pg. 99 and Ampere, Loma Prieta feature a messy, dense, and chaotic sound reminiscent of early emo and hardcore.  The production is grimy and the vocals are brash, but within the short, crass songs that Loma Prieta create, there is genuine emotion and passion.  However, despite the band’s consistent excellence, they haven’t produced a clear “classic” worthy of the praise they’ve received in their short career.  Their, debut, Last City, was close but ultimately lacked that certain “punch” indicative of a true timeless record.  That being said, I.V. is the album Loma Prieta have always had in them; a glorious and sprawling record that refines everything they’ve achieved thus far, whilst adding much, much more.

While it may seem a bit simple to pick out the more derivative aspects of I.V., it’s difficult to deny that they’ve used their influences well.  The harder edge they’ve been sharpening since their inception is even more striking here, and that certain Ampere-esque flair is still beautifully executed.  This is all decidedly Loma Prieta, which is all well and good, but it’s the more refined quality of the work that pushes it further. The heavier bass and relatively cleaner production gives I.V. a denser and more abrasive sound without sacrificing sound quality.  Everything from the vocals to the guitars simply sounds tighter and more concise, and the album is all the better for it.

The original “Trilogy” found on Last City is still, to this day, some of the finest emo music I’ve ever heard, and the extension of those songs only furthers my irrevocable love.  Parts four through six of the series is reminiscent of the original pieces, but features the new influences discussed earlier.  The bass laden intro and darker atmosphere brings to mind Converge, while the emphasis on more intricate guitar work reminds one of La Quiete.  But I.V. is so much more than these few songs, as the entire record sees the band creating a wealth of varied songs with more melody and more complex songwriting.  From the gripping opener, “Fly By Night,” to the very last cathartic seconds of “Diamond Toot,” I.V. is an almost unparalleled collection of balanced and wonderfully executed tracks.

I.V., Loma Prieta’s Deathwish Inc. debut, was written at a time of great emotional turmoil for the band, and that sentiment certainly shows.  I.V. is a marvel of modern day emotional hardcore, and a deeply effective album in general.  This is the album that will finally hoist Loma Prieta up to the heights they deserve, showcasing the true talent and ingenuity contained within.


Track List:
1. Fly By Night
2. Torn Portrait
3. Reproductive
4. Trilogy 4 "Momentary"
5. Trilogy 5 "Half Cross"
6. Trilogy 6 "Forgetting"
7. Untitled
8. Uniform
9. Uselessness
10. Aside From this Distant Shadow, There is
Nothing Left
11. Biography
12. Diamond Tooth

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