Whether we want to admit it or not, the things we create are inherently a self-representation of a time and place in our lives, be it in the past or present tense. The reality is that even if others appreciate do or do not appreciate what may have taken countless weeks or months to create, that as long as it’s an accurate reflection of yourself, that’s all that matters. Taking this concept in stride is where Nashville natives LOYALS lie with their self-titled debut album as the band indicated that the album was made in a time when there was a lot going on and they tried to create a sound that is most tailored to who they are and what they like. It’s human nature to be drawn to such distinct aspects of life in one way or another, and that is exactly what they have accomplished as LOYALS is a refreshing record that is full of life, buoyancy and attitude.
[tw-toggle title=”About LOYALS”]
Genre: Alternative | Alternative Pop | Alternative Rock
Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Release: February 2, 2018
Connect: Facebook | Twitter
It’s become increasingly rare for many to find albums that have that “it” factor; the one-time industry obsessed term that essentially describes everything and nothing at the same time. That factor, whether you want to describe it as an all around catchy, soothing sound or overall style that draws people in full circle and delivers an undeniable sound that can’t be passed up, oozes out of the full package that is LOYALS. This is a twelve-song album that, while feeling at times rather brief in thanks to its inherently provided easy listening that makes time pass in a miraculously fast way, is full of vibrant, succulent melodies and swaying vibes that simply strike all the right chords for a modern day, alternative album. In addition to the core alternative sound, LOYALS also blend a multitude of other genres, from alternative and indie rock to pop and R&B. It’s this ability to seamlessly mix and match such a vast array of styles together into one cohesive sound that not only gives them that “it” factor, but also delivers an album that is nothing short of mesmerizing. With the slightly overzealous gushing of the sounds that LOYALS delivers out of the way, it’s time to reign it back a bit and explore the album in a more detailed manner.
Opening up the album is “Face”, a 45 second intro that slowly builds with chanting vocals and a euphoric sound before erupting into “Mind Up”, which presents the first taste of their alternative rock driven sound through explosive synths, toe-tapping drumming and basslines and rhythmic guitars. On top of such a danceable sound lives vocalist Dane Allen, who has an incredible vocal range that is showcased throughout the entirety of the album. This pace and style continues on into “Bail Out”, albeit in a slightly toned down way before “Skyline” introduces more of the alternative and pop elements present in LOYALS musical catalog. It’s near the middle of the album with “Hold On” that is the true standout though as Dane’s vocal range goes from sultry and deep to crooning falsetto as he rides the darker backing synth-line, drawing in anyone still on the fence to enjoy the ride. Over the next couple of tracks, from “Gone” to “Never Too Far Gone”, LOYALS showcase their full musical arsenal from upbeat, alternative rock to indie pop all on display. “IDC” once again sees a stylistic shift as atmospheric electronics oozes through the speakers with a vocalizer-effect on Allen’s voice. It’s a subtler sound that discards danceable instrumentals for atmosphere and once that nicely transitions the album to its final slate of tracks. “Alright” opens up with an incredibly progressive guitar instrumental that’s reminiscent of the likes of Polyphia and remains ever present throughout the full song in conjunction with sultry, pop vocals while the closer, “Don’t Let Me Let You Down” is full of sparkling synths and thunderous drums, delivering an expansive and enchanting album closer.
As indicated throughout the entire length of this review, LOYALS have crafted up something inherently special, placing their sound and capabilities alongside some of the biggest modern alternative and pop acts. That isn’t the shocking part though, as for those who are aware of their background and familiar with their sound can attest, it’s more so surprising on how it seems to have been accomplished with such relative ease and came out of nowhere. Then again, that’s what surprises are all about; presenting the unexpected and LOYALS is honestly full of that — in an extremely impressive and wonderfully fulling manner that leaves you wanting more.