In every decent documentary about UK punk rock, there's invariably a mention of the Sex Pistols' gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in 1976. Everyone who was anyone was there...or claims they were there.
I suppose the closest I've ever come to having something like that in my past is the badge of honor I wear inside on my psyche for having survived the bludgeoning volume of the legendary Loop/Nirvana gig at the (old) 9:30 Club in Spring 1990. I've written about that night before so I'll not bore you with the details again suffice it to say that 1) everyone I knew who was cool, from a cool record store, or about to join or form an awesome band (like those kids starting up Slumberland Records in College Park, Maryland around that time), was at that gig; Years later, Archie from Velocity Girl told me that Kurt from Lilys relayed to him how it was at that show that Dave Grohl was recruited to join Nirvana, and 2) Loop were unbelievably loud.
I mean, shake your bones-loud. I had a few beers and stood in the middle of the crowd and felt the music in my joints and the heat from the strobe lights on my face when I swayed with eyes closed. I nearly fainted. If I had been one to drop acid, I bet that would have been a great show to do it at.
Well, Robert Hampson has brought the noise 'cause through some miracle of rawk Loop are back. Following on from the fanfare accorded those splendid reissues from a few years ago, the band is creating new tunes. The first release, Array 1, is out now via ATP Recordings.
Things kick off with the White Zombie-like stomping riff of "Precession" (and I offer that comparison as a compliment). "Aphelion" works another killer hook to death as the drums come in louder and louder towards the end. The effect is, unsurprisingly, hypnotic. "Coma" serves up a modern take on the Fripp/Eno No Pussyfooting-formula but with a great deal more brevity and directness.
Array 1 closes with the 17-minute epic of "Radial" which devotes a third of its running time to a dramatic build-up only to erupt in a nasty bit of tunefulness that somehow links up the sound of The Jesus and Mary Chain more closely with the music of Loop than was quite possible before so many decades ago. In that moment of fuzzy glory, one realizes that Hampson is every bit the pioneer of sound that either Reid brother ever was.
Loop do a few things magnificently. If you love their sound, you'll dig Array 1, the first in an apparent series of upcoming releases.