Soundtrack to Good Times
Festival season is upon us and it seems only appropriate Jeremy Loops drops his first full-length studio album ever right in the midst of it all. After all, the South African one-man band seems to have been a staple on the festival circuit for a while now, wowing audiences with his guitar and loop pedals, and encouraging good times.
With this album, Loops takes himself to a new level in his collaborations with fellow African musicians such as Motheo Moleko, providing the hip-hop rhymes and rhythms where needed, and Adelle Nqeto, bringing a feminine voice to the love song “Lonesome & Blue.” This album is not a concept album; it’s not music for musical theorists. It is music that provides the soundtrack to a good time. Each song has its own infectious rhythm that is difficult not to bob your head to. Some tracks are inflected with reggae, others lead you to believe he’s slowing down into sentimentality, only to start up the rhythms into another bone shaker. The song “Higher Stakes” is a great example of starting slow and acoustic only to jolt you out of what you think is an emotional journey into more head bobbing.
The album has plenty of fun highlights including what sounds like a lone trumpet on “Mission to the Sun” which features horn player Jamie Faull. “Running Away” is a hip-hop heavy rocker that flows into a wall of sound effect likely influenced by Loops’ solo efforts of building his sound one live track at a time. The songs on the whole are about nothing more complicated or profound than emotions and love. The lyrics seem secondary to having a good time. After all, he manages to turn a song about a cheating girlfriend –“Sinner” – into an anthem.
Loops, of course, nods to his African roots with the most African of instruments, the banjo, popping up all over the record in support of the friends he’s brought along on the journey. In that regard, the music has some unique qualities. Yet in the end, it feels like a party album made to be blasted from the cars and tents of festival goers gearing up for a show. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.