Abbotsford punk / hardcore outfit Loans’ debut record Self Loaning is a short but comprehensive overview of the energy and potential in the band. Loans demonstrates a mastery over the bread-and-butter of the punk genre: the playing is at once focused and unruly. Tracks like single “Bell Tower” incorporate memorable riffs with an uncompromising vocal delivery that’s one of Loans’ greatest strengths.
However, despite the relatively short run-time of the EP, the material suffers from one fatal affliction: ambition.
“Introspect” for example, focuses dissatisfaction into a rowdy wall of sound that’s held together by a tight bass line and drum kit foundation. The pre-chorus immediately resonates with us, but the track lulls before the first verse, losing energy. Howling vocals pull us back in at the 1:50 mark, but dissolve into an instrumental outro that lacks structure.
“Slough” also ebbs and flows between peaks which boast a synthesis of the band’s separate structural elements, and instances which could have been left on the cutting room floor.
The Loans boys are sitting on a gold-mine. They have skill, charisma, an uncanny ear for jangly hooks couched within a beautiful cacophony. They just have to focus on refining those elements and structuring tracks economically.