Music Reviews
Dreaming the Impossible

The Loft Club Dreaming the Impossible

(So, Let's Talk Ltd / Lightyear Entertainment) Buy it from Insound Rating - 5/10

For a while now, there’s been an easily noticeable stigma about being earnest in music. The indie-rock of the 1990s and the 2000s were all about ambivalent posturing—if you got on stage and played your heart out, there was something lame about that. Of course, some groups pushed against this. Saddled with the influences of Bruce Springsteen and/or U2, bands like Arcade Fire, Japandroids, and The Hold Steady all became pioneers of sincerely caring. As The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn would say, “There is so much joy in what we do here.” Sure, he may flail around on stage and ramble like a nerd, but he’s one of the coolest frontmen out there. There’s been a surge of this earnest-rock in the U.K, where punk groups like IDLES write loud, aggressive songs with their heart on their sleeve. So, eventually, someone had to beg the question: is there a place for a band to actually be uncool?

I thought about that question as I was listening to Dreaming the Impossible, the new full-length album from folk-rock group The Loft Club. If you were to describe the band based on their credentials, they might sound like a typical indie-rock startup: one or two songs on Spotify with a few hundred thousands plays, a few good tours or festivals slots, and boundless possibilities ahead, but they’re not in the mold of European punk like Shame or Fountains D.C., or bland British indie-pop breakthroughs like Catfish and the Bottleman or Declan McKenna. This album’s lead single, head smackingly titled True Love, opens with jangling electric guitars and walks into a verse with egregious harmonies, but it also accurately presents The Loft Club's dichotomy: the song’s lyrics are trite, the production is limp, and yet, it isn’t the worst thing ever.

The British five piece's debut works as an approximation of what your dad would make if he had picked up a guitar. They’re overeager in terms of their arrangements, with bongos and smooth guitar licks punctuating the title track, but they also know how appealing that jangle pop can be. With tambourine hits and a skittering electric guitar, a track like Heard Her Say is perfectly pleasant pop-rock fodder. Featuring a reference to The Monkees’ I’m a Believer, it’s the sort of song that seems ideal to exist in the background of your everyday life. If you pay it too much attention, well, the allure falls apart.

If that doesn’t sound like quite your thing, don’t worry, it gets worse. An odd foray into funk on I’m Just a Man is moderately concerning, while the plodding, exhausting dirge of Made in England tries to recall U2 but ends up closer to Snow Patrol. It doesn’t help that frontman Daniel Schamroth has an awful falsetto that punctuates lines like “except the grey skies mesmerise the fear in your eyes.” Worst of all, it feels like every lyric on Dreaming the Impossible exists as a cliche, searching for a better line to take its place. As if to devolve into self-parody, we end on a collaboration with Lisa Loeb. If you could make this project any more granola, you’d need to go to REI. Still, there’s something admirable about this album. It’s a project without anything broadly or particularly captivating on it, but it uses that to its advantage. This isn’t music to engage with or care about, but if you have to hear it, it’s not a work of abject horror. The best one could say about The Loft Club is that I hope they land all of the car advertisements they can; they deserve it.