Family (Hardly Art)
They say that if you listen closely, you can actually hear the sound the sun makes in those last seconds before it slips beneath the horizon and twilight engulfs the sky. If you’ve never experienced that first-hand, the otherworldly notes on Le Loup’s sophomore album, Family, are a good approximation of what fills the air in that brief, magical moment.
Often described as either freak folk or tribal rock, Le Loup’s hypnotic soundscapes are as difficult to categorize as they are divine. From the Enya-esque incantations featured on “Go East” to the meditative rhythm of the disc’s title track, the Washington, D.C., outfit has produced a record that is often astonishing, and not just because many of the songs were recorded in a Maryland basement. The material feels more akin to a sacred tribal ceremony in the high desert than to a product of disenchanted suburban America.
By casting aside the synthesizers so heavily featured on its debut (the ostentatiously titled The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly), Le Loup creates a more organic sound on Family. Don’t be surprised if you need a couple spins to fully grasp the ingenuity of the band’s celestial folk opera. Once you do, it’s something to cherish—just like the quaint idea that if you listen hard enough, you can hear a sound when the sun sinks beneath the hills in the distance.