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Loma - How Will I Live Without a Body? (Album Review)

Wednesday, 03 July 2024 Written by Craig Howieson

Photo: Emily Cross

One knock on effect of the relentless pace of modern life is that time and space have become highly prized commodities. We may often be on our own, but we are rarely alone with just our thoughts for company. On their third record, though, Loma seem to cherish taking some time out to focus inwards.

An album that was four years in the making, after numerous false starts and a slew of logistical barriers, it finally began to coalesce when the band (multi-instrumentalists Dan Duszynsk and Emily Cross plus Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg) got back together a world away from their Texas base. 

At a cottage in Dorset they assembled a record bound by melancholy and anxiety. ‘How Will I Live Without A Body?’ is filled with a quiet terror at the future but it is never so overcome by fear that it cannot appreciate the here and now. 

This is also the most diverse the trio have ever sounded. The bold gothic pop of A Steady Mind is adorned with an otherworldly elegance, while Pink Sky sounds like the demonic outro of a warped ska track.

Loma have always displayed a fondness for lush production, without things ever getting too polished, and that same quality persists here. It is like taking a look beneath the bonnet of a Beach House record, seeing how the pistons and valves drive the songs forward, and how each component, even at their most dissonant, is perfectly aligned. 

The percussion of Arrhythmia is enough to bring you out in a cold sweat, while the eight minute build of Broken Doorbell descends into the white noise of waves crashing on England's southern coast. As with their previous records ‘How Will I Live Without A Body?’ clocks in at around 45 minutes. It is also best enjoyed as one continuous listen  guided by shifting moods and subtle inflections. 

When five minutes without your phone can seem like an age this is a considerable investment, but that just makes it all the more rewarding. Loma’s ability to slow things down and allow the space for your mind to wander is a gift, and by the final bars of the gorgeous album closer Turnaround, where Cross’s voice hovers in the air above little more than an acoustic guitar, you’ll be glad of seconds you’ve been given.


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