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Le Loup
Family Meryl Trussler , October 8th, 2009 10:25

It's bizarre to hear so many influences clear as fucking day in a record and still not feel like it's derivative. Hence the look of gleeful puzzlement Family produces. It's equidistant from at least a dozen cultural touchpoints, the folksy echoes Grizzly Bear worked so well on Yellow House, the great treehugger's rave of Akron/Family and the soaring jingly sixtiesness of Panda Bear being a mere few. And yet for once this is exactly as positive a thing as it ought always be: if you get your kicks from those bands, you will get further kicks from this musical synonym. Not to mention if you like Le Loup. Fans of Le Loup, one imagines, will be kicking clean through the boot-leather.

Because — at the risk of sounding like a record-label Humbert Humbert — it is so good to watch a band just . . . blossoming. The first album The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly (for it was so) seemed to lay the pulse line for the second, being a breezier affair wrought out of banjo and mandolin and vocal swath. But Family brings two very special additions: a whole band, and what's more, the feeling of a band. As its name suggests, this thing is a huge off-bitten chunk of togetherness: the title track sees every lung emptying like a pail to sing "and the blood that flows in this body / and the blood that flows in these veins / and the blood that flows in this body / is everyone's! and everything's!" What's most jarring is to feel so satisfied by this track and still be only halfway through.

There must be something about hyperbolic reverb that prompts hyperbolic reviews, but heck. It itches like a fleabite to know that Fleet Foxes and Frightened Rabbit and all the industry's animals can reap the hype as they do while Le Loup carry on shaking their cowbells in the shadows. All the elements of get-up-on-your-feetery are there. In fact, 'Sherpa' and others prove it to be, in actuality, the soundtrack to the biggest, best dance party you ever crashed — just half-disguised in zithers and bracken and woodsy ephemera. If they make their music any larger we may have to go back to gramophones, taped to megaphones, taped to foghorns: but, Le Loup, you are thoroughly welcome to go forth and multiply.

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