Loquat offer up a concise batch of engaging pop songs with their latest, We Could Be Arsonists.
We Could Be Arsonists is Loquat's third album and it sounds exactly like it should. Throughout the record the band brims with confidence, plays to its strengths, and turns out one fantastic indie-pop tune after the next. This is bright, this is charming, and this is a more than welcome change of pace from the vast majority of attempted stabs at this genre. The only band that's pulled off the mix of genres Loquat emphasizes and dabbles in throughout We Could Be Arsonists is Company of Thieves. Every song on here breezes by while remaining interesting and entertaining.
It's also important to note that each individual member of Loquat seems tremendously talented at their respective instrument, showing restraint at all the appropriate times but ready to spring a flashy moment at the drop of a hat, which creates an interesting tension that's usually lacking in pop music. We Could Be Arsonists is also one of the most melodic releases in recent memory, each respective part of a song sticks out on its own merit whether it's vocals, bass, guitar, drums, keys, or synthesizer, which is a rare feat.
While all of that would be enough to get this a passing grade from nearly everyone, it can often come at the expense of the songs themselves. That's not the case here. Not only would these songs sound perfectly at home on any given pop mixtape or radio station, but they sound even better when packaged together here as a complete collection. They're even bolstered by the excellent sequencing of We Could Be Arsonists with every song complementing its preceding and subsequent song, save the opener and closer, who can only complement one song (and do).
We Could Be Arsonists is also a rarity in that each song is so good on its own that it makes picking a highlight an impossibility. All of these songs operate and succeed on a high level and function together so well that to pick any single one would be unjust. The only track that sticks out enough in the record to be considered as such is the devastating and simplistic "Kindling for Fire", which is achingly beautiful in its stripped-down approach and vocal performance. It's a genuinely breath-taking stop in an otherwise upbeat album, making it all the more effective. "Kindling for Fire" also works exceptionally well for placing an emphasis on Loquat's lyrics, which are well above par for the genre. "It's not a losing score but it feels like it was" on its own is sung with such sincerity that it almost warrants a complete re-examination of We Could Be Arsonists lyrics, which would only yield impressive results.
We Could Be Arsonists does have its failings, though. One of which is that none of this feels particularly revolutionary or unique. While it's certainly true that Loquat are easily one of the best bands going in this particular styling, they haven't really put their own stamp on anything yet, other than the near-perfection of the genre. That's really the only complaint to be had with We Could Be Arsonists and frankly, that's not much of a complaint. This is a really good album from a really good band that will be well worth the time to invest in. One can only hope that other bands will follow their lead.