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The third album from San Diego garage-rockers the Loons is their first on L.A.-based cult label Bomp! Opening with a ’60s-style R&B stomper, “Between Grey Slates,” they take us on a trip to the terraced houses of Mike Stax's English homeland.

The title track is a song full of shimmering psychedelic guitars, swirling over a hypnotic rhythm. Glenn Ross Campbell of the Misunderstood adds his steel guitar to the title track and — to even greater effect — “Heyday,” where the band slows things down to psychedelic blues. Musically, “Heyday” echoes the Bunnymen, while it lyrically laments the passing of someone's 15 minutes of fame: “When you reached the top, they cancelled your reservation.”

The highlight of the album is “Diamonds, Garbage, and Gold,” with its simple but dynamic chord progression, foot-to-the-floor beat, and infectious chorus. It tells a tale of a rich girl with all the friends that money can buy but a bankrupt personality: “You're rich, but you ain't got no class.”

Unsurprisingly, the band has retained its California psychedelia and British freakbeat ’60s influences. Yet they manage not to sound revivalist, as the Loons’ strengths are in the quality of musicianship and songwriting — two things that never age.

  • Album: Red Dissolving Rays of Light (2010)
  • Artist: The Loons
  • Label: Bomp!
  • Songs: (1) Between Grey Slates (2) I Wanna Get You (3) La Mesa Boulevard (4) Orphan Wing (5) Summer's End (6) Red Dissolving Rays of Light (7) A Last Goodbye (8) Stowaway (9) Diamonds, Garbage, and Gold (10) Heyday (11) The Losers Win
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