Coming out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Loud Library formed in February of 2018 and put out what I assume is their first release in the form of the A Letter Home EP in November of the same year. Given that the band’s social media does not offer much more in the way of information about its members, I can’t really give a human face to the band. The best that I can do is to be critical without being nasty. Sorry guys.
The album is self-described as a “display of a unique alternative pop sound.” It is certainly unique, and is not easily compared to other artists in the realm of alternative pop. Even though it is only four tracks long, it just feels a lot longer. Opening with the title track, “A Letter Home,” the initial piano riff weirdly reminds me of a jewellery box song. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really get much better than the initial indications. There is just something that doesn’t seem to be working both between the band members, and with the mixing of this EP.
In “A Letter Home” as well as “Dancing Dreamer,” the vocals are at times difficult to listen to, and the vocal layering doesn’t jive or resonate. The lyrics are quite cliché, as if a young kid is just discovering the fact that the American dream is a farce. In somewhat ironic fashion, “Dancing Dreamer” ends with the sounds of snoring. During transitions between the verse, bridge and chorus of each track, things get weird and chaotic.
Despite this, the EP is scattered with a few moments of potential, mostly because of the keys– such as the beginning of “Lets Be Free.” “Alright” sports a few seconds of a slightly redeeming guitar solo. The instruments are well-played, it just feels as if each member is tugging at one another to go in a four completely different directions.
Overall, this sounds like the effort of newly formed band in which its members are still working out what they want to sound like together. It is possible that A Letter Home is a stepping stone towards a more nuanced sound for Loud Library. With a clearer sense of direction, lyrics that touch deeper emotions and stay clear of clichés, and a more cohesive approach between instruments, they may be able to go somewhere interesting.
Written by Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Kate Erickson