Loma Prieta is a San Francisco based hardcore band who have been around for about ten years. They currently have five albums under their belts and with their newest album, Self Portrait, they continue their musical style of pummeling drums and heavy distortion, but a few things that we have not seem Loma Prieta really embrace. In this recent album Loma has adopted a more melodic approach to their songs. If you go back to their previous album, I.V, for the most part, the entire album is a wall of sound leaving a destructive path. The only break in the album was then ending track. So, it was nice to hear that Loma mixed melodies into the songs to create a balanced listening experience. In general, the production of the album is cleaner and clearer than their previous albums. We can easily discern each instrument without compromising Loma’s sound. The only issue some may have with this album and their previous ones is that the vocals can be a bit fatiguing if you are not used to this style of music.
If you are familiar with the band then some songs may catch you off guard. The opening track, “Love”, starts with clean guitar riffs and a very simple drum beats. However, you reminded that this is a Loma Prieta song with the heavily distorted vocals and bass. This song, as well as others such as, “Roadside Cross” and “More Perfect,” show the evolution that the band has undergone. These songs are some of the most melodic and clear song the band has written. The use of major keys in some of these song completely turn the album on its side. The song “Roadside Cross” starts with their signature distorted wave of sound, however we are given refuge in the small parts of dissonant guitars. The chorus of the song completely changes feel of the song. The major keys and almost pop punk feel gives a wonderful dynamic to rest of the song.
While Loma Prieta has changed some things up, fear not, as they have not lost their vicious edge. The song “Black Square” is the second song on the album, and it gives a nice parallel to the opening track. This song is reminiscent of the songs found I.V. The cutting guitar feedback and battling dissonant guitars have a nice familiarity to their older material. This song is really the only song that feels as if it was not updated to Loma’ new sound, which is not a bad thing. However, while not as obvious as tracks stated above, all the songs integrate Loma’s evolved sound into them.
Self Portrait is a great addition to the Loma Prieta’s discography, and while not their best, it was refreshing take on their music. If you have a chance, I would recommend you listen to this album, and maybe their previous album to see how they have progressed. Again, be forewarned it can be a fatiguing listen if you are not used to this music.