THE LOOSE SALUTE
Four years on from the critically acclaimed 'Tuned To Love', The Loose Salute are back with an album of splendid, rueful charm - a triumph of heart and soul. The music is still wearing it's bubblegum heart on its sleeve but it's bruised, tougher, wiser.
Opener 'It’s A Beautiful Thing' captures the band’s spirit in one song. A swoonful, melody-cut diamond that chases down that elusive dream, a hymn to battling through that manages to be both crestfallen and hope filled. One side of 'Getting Over Being Under' is all about celebrating much loved influences, West Coast, Beach Boys, Nashville, they're all there, but they venture further afield and conjure authentic Delta Boogie in 'Sister Corita', an almost Bolan-esque stomp on 'Run Out Of Morning' and the folky Fairport shuffle of 'Perhaps She’ll Fly'.
But all boast the detailed, original stamp of McCutcheon’s eclectic arrangements. Pedal steel is joined by south of the border trumpets as well as the charm of a Germanic chamber ensemble string section, all lending the album a warm, sumptuous production, while never staying into the saccharine. These are songs of experience. McCutcheon's affectionately wry take on regret and consolation litter his lyrics A warm open-heartedness, but cut with a clear-eyed acquaintance of life’s dead ends.
At the album’s heart is a clutch of outstanding ballads. From the achingly bitter-sweet snapshots of 'Happy I Don’t Count' and 'This Is Love' to the killer closer 'That’s What You Said'. Deceptively sharp glimpses into tense affairs, hotel room mutiny and morning-after regret. 'Hermosa' even manages Nashville swing tied up to a wry tale of mutual S&M manoeuvring. Surely a first.
It's no small thing to make bubblegum pop for adults. Escapist, catchy tunes shot through with everyday blues. Dignity and depth. And always a faith in the mystical power of friends and The Boogie to keep bad times at bay.
Music for growing up and grooving on. Mine’s a double.
GRAVE059 : Getting Over Being Under CD/LP
GRAVE020 : Tuned to Love CD