3 stars out of 5All we care about is rock and roll, the next big swell, which party to go to. We just wanna let the sunshine in.’
The central lyric of ‘From Head to Sandy Toes’ neatly sums up The Loose Salute’s attitude to music and indeed life in general. Singer, songwriter and drummer Ian McCutcheon, best known for his work in Slowdive and Mojave 3, formed the band, aiming for their music to reflect their lifestyle surfing in Cornwall.
The Loose Salute make little attempt to disguise their influences, which are firmly grounded in ’60s beat-pop, from the first Beach Boys-esque chords of ‘Death Club’ to the pop of the Monkees from whom the band take their name. However, in spreading themselves so thinly over their influences the band’s sound is highly derivative.
Whilst the lyrics are somewhat unimaginative, their delivery cannot be faulted. McCutcheon’s vocals are reminiscent of Elliott Smith and when Lisa Billson assumes vocal duties the effect is stunning as she shifts from melancholy languor to upbeat ecstasy. This is especially evident on the beautiful final ballad ‘Ship on the Ocean’.
The instrumentation on the album is greatly varied, but not so far as to seem like a gimmick and detract from the songs’ overall effect. Tracks are perfectly augmented by steel guitar, banjo, sax and the trumpet solo as ‘Photographs and Tickets’ reaches its climax is a particular highlight.
What’s wrong with an album that chooses not to push musical boundaries? This album shows that there’s great merit in taking a scenic trip over previously tread musical ground when it takes the listener on a picturesque journey to a sunset on a Cornwall beach.