Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Loser’s Way Home, a folk outfit from Phoenix, Arizona. The band was formed nearly a decade ago in 2008, and since then, has released a pretty extensive body of work with some impressive collaborators. Their new EP is ‘Love Songs for the Rest of Us,’ a poppy snapshot of the band’s personality and sound. Let’s dig right into it.
‘In the Shadows,’ the opening of the album, showcases Loser’s Way Home in full force with their acoustic presentation. The addition of the fiddle in the band’s make-up is exceptional, and ‘In the Shadows’ is indicative of an album that’s sharply executed with a creative vision in mind. These tracks were clearly recorded in a studio, and that effort exudes quality.
Acoustic instrumentation, as I’ve said before here in the Spotlight, can be a nightmare to record and produce. It can be very finicky, and as such, well organized bouts of it are always refreshing. Throughout ‘Love Songs for the Rest of Us,’ Loser’s Way Home handles this perfectly. ‘Love, You Found Me’ is a beautiful ballad with soft finger-picking, reverberated percussion, and stunning synthesizers. It’s wonderful that those synths don’t overpower the band - they accentuate, they don’t demand.
As I alluded to in my preface above, there is a poppy, snappy nature to this EP. Tracks are short, often catchy, and are structured similarly to a good pop track. ‘Two-Step,’ for example, is a nice excursion of country bluegrass connecting with singer songwriter pop. This isn’t new, but Loser’s Way Home does own it particularly well.
The highlight of the album is most surely ‘Rachel,’ a remarkable love track that transcends songs like ‘Love, You Found Me.’ It feels far more personal, and less cookie-cutter. Thus, the song provides some fantastic instrumentation to pair itself with that songwriting. As the track explodes around the 3:50 mark, the listener is met with a cacophony of great performance.
The dichotomy of the keys, strings, and percussion on ‘Place of No Return’ is splendid. The solo-esque section at 2:45 is one of the most haunting sections of the album, making the finale a fittingly unforgettable one. So, is this album worth taking a look at it when it drops?
Absolutely. ‘Love Songs for the Rest of Us’ is a finely-tuned folk machine organized properly for a contemporary audience. It’s recorded beautifully, too, which only echoes its powerful performances.