For those of you who need a touch of guidance in trying to place music into an appropriate setting I’ve come up with this handy list of things to do while listening to Loquat’s It’s Yours to Keep. They can be performed in any order and need not be attempted all in one sitting:
- Drive to work early in the morning with the sun in your face.
- Tap your feet distractedly while you read the sports page.
- Make sweet sweet love to your number one sweetie.
- Play Backgammon.
- Read the new issue of The Week.
- Wink slyly at the guy or girl who serves you coffee in the morning.
- Break up with someone and be sad.
- Attempt clairvoyance.
- Dig up that 12-inch of Real Life’s “Send Me an Angel” you forgot that you hid in the closet in 1991.
- Smoke pot.
- Smoke more pot and eat cinnamon toast.
I certainly don’t intend this list to be exhaustive. But if ever there was good background music, It’s Yours to Keep is it. Able to comfortably and unobtrusively fit into almost any environment, save perhaps a mugging, It’s Yours to Keep isn’t going to knock any socks off; it will however provide an excellent soundtrack to the taking off of socks. If nothing else Loquat recalls a more somnambulant disinterested Morcheeba or the jazz lite stylings of early Everything But The Girl.
The most disheartening thing about It’s Yours to Keep is that there are very good songs on this album. Songs like “Take It Back”, “Swingset Chain” and “Change The Station” all illustrate Loquat’s strengths and weaknesses. Each song has a smoky smooth head-nodding beat that’s subtly accented with short chiming guitar chords, electronic blips, light keyboard and lead singer Kylee Swenson’s sultry vocals; there are moments of sublime melody in each that don’t get lost as much as they get ignored. The problem is that even in the midst of It’s Yours to Keep‘s finest moments none of the songs are particularly distinguishable from each other: beats are smooth and steady, Swenson’s voice is pretty but she’s never pushed past her comfort zone, the rhythm section of drummer Christopher Lautz and bassist Anthony Gordon is clearly capable but too comfortable. This all may be due to the fact the record was home produced by Swenson and guitarist Earl Otsuka. Sometimes the best thing a band can do is to let a semi removed (se objective) third party bring out angles within songs that the band may not hear.
Loquat seems to have become so focused on It’s Yours to Keep with nurturing their particular brand of beat lite groove that they polished it into submission. The segue between “Rocks” and “Slow, Fast, Wait & See” is so seamless that only the most attentive listening will pick up the transition from song to song. Eventually your ears will simply become so accustomed to the easy tones of It’s Yours to Keep that the album runs the risk of not being noticed at all. That’s okay as we all need something to space out to. I’m just surprised that such a clearly talented band decided to write the soundtrack.