It’s really easy to hear talent. You just have to press play and let the music speak for itself. Or in the case of Slow Loris (aka Madison, Wisconsin’s Wes Doyle), grab yourself a set of full-ear headphones, turn the volume to 10 and listen to “Everybody Knows” from off his newest LP, “Routine Glow”. The record fades in and out of a sound that is psychedelic, nostalgic, and sometimes shoegaze — but always youthfully romantic and of the first order. There’s a flair for old-world guitar solos, textures of distortion, vocal reverb, and musical stylings that owe as much to The Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine, and the Factory Era sound, as it does The Beach Boys, The Beatles and The Kinks. In short, this record’s antecedents are sprawling. There are lo-fi intros that sound like muffled recordings, harmonic vocal double-tracking, and endlessly engaging melodic heights. The guitar outro on “Madeline”, a drowsily wistful love song, shows tenderness in its unwinding chords. (I listened to that segment of the song nearly 50 times in the last hour.) “Everybody Knows” shows Doyle’s range. It’s like the aftermath of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”, part bang and whimper.
This 12-track album was made in Doyle’s bedroom, but you wouldn’t know that by listening. There’s a supreme polish and frankly, it sounds like he has a full-fledged band. Doyle’s guitar playing is astoundingly airy, precise and deft. On “Flowers and Monsters” is a dreamy, seaside reverie told in impressive guitar flourishes. “Practice” is distorted and prettily paced. This is a record that knows where its going. No meandering. No half-hearted cuts. No wobbly filler. Nearly every song contains something unexpected. Even the lyrics are intriguing. The thought-dream song, “Minerals”, describes a sort of drugged-out fever dream amid a hard-strummed rhythm and elegant CSNY-like guitar wanderlust: “Spaceships in my window / Golden statues growing in the garden / There are cannons, where there are no people / And I see islands, sinking into the ocean …” The song “Do The Levitation” seems to be about finding calm. It’s a hazy track that builds into a soaring wall of fuzz. There a pretty and simply-written line about losing one’s way in the woods: “Sometimes I get lost / And now, sitting in a tree / How will you get down? / When will you be free?”
Somebody better sign him up quickly, because you don’t make music like this without people taking notice. “Routine Glow” is raw and beautiful. Easily one of the best records of 2011. Note: You can stream the entire record or download it for free over at his bandcamp page. There’s a 12-inch vinyl coming out too, available for $12. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Slow Loris “Everybody Knows”