Loquat The Penny Drop EP (Loquat Music, 2002)
I found out about Loquat through the Dreams by Degrees Fall 10”. They hail from San Francisco and have been playing live within the SF scene since 2001 and have been writing songs much longer than that. My first impression of the band was that they were great, but, as I listened to the CD over and over again, the songs increasingly got better.
The first track on the disc, “Swingset Chain,” is packed with imagery of a friend or love lost (this song also appears on the Fall 10” vinyl of the Dreams by Degrees seasons series). The song is laden with soft piano, stripped down drums, acoustic guitar, and accentuated with bass and touches of sparse keyboard sounds in a mid to fast tempo. It’s the perfect melancholy pop song. Kylee’s voice is angelic and croons, “I spent my time falling down the stairs.” This line struck me as powerful, referring to her feelings when her friend/lover left. The overall arrangement of the song is patient and well thought out.
On the heals of “Swingset Chain” is “To the Floor,” a track that is upbeat musically, yet the lyrics stress one’s longing to be validated as a person. The bass work on this song is intricate and tight. The drum work on this song is impressive, and it is throughout the entirety of the disc. Although the band has been writing music for some time, they seem to have remained fresh and creative.
“Half-Assed Mechanic” is altogether clever and an intricate song. This is a mid to fast tempo song that contains staccato drumbeats and softly distorted guitars with accents of keyboard. One thing about this band that impresses me is that they use keyboards in such a subtle way, using them to the advantage of the song rather than overpowering it with synth. Kylee’s honesty in this song brings it to life. She sings about her inability to fix her friends’ brokenness or her own frailties: hence, half-assed mechanic.
I could go on about each song and how each song is excellent in its own right. The Penny Drop is a disc that has all the qualities of being timeless. It is a disc I can see myself listening to 10 or 20 years from now. The songs on the EP hang together perfectly. For this band, the song is king, everything seems to be used in service of it. Each song is polished and tight and the lyrics are imaginative and use imagery that highlights everyday experiences in a creative way. Loquat specializes in up-tempo beats highlighted with minor chords and melancholy lyrics, creating a perfect tension within a seamless pop perfection.