FAME Review: Loop - Heaven's End
Loop - Heaven's End

Heaven's End


Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Loop was the brainchild of guitarist/singer Robert Hampson who recruited girlfriend Becky Stewart (Bex) into the ensemble on drums, then snagged Glen Ray to wield the bass guitar. Their intent was to serve up a thick, sludgy, droney, twisted, toxic, barbed-out, psychedelic jam factory of noisy and often wah-wahed rock and roll that bedded down in proto grunge of a Blue Cheer-y nature by way of The Stooges and Velvet Underground. Then they tossed in a ton of spacey electronics, feedback, and distortion bearing resemblances to Can, Neu, Faust and others, as well as Red Crayola (circa Parable of Ararble Land), Gomorrha, Hawkwind, Screaming Lord Sutch, Syd Barrett, and John Cale. Though acid freak Baby Boomers were familiar with such concatenations, Loop's sound was distinctive for its time (1987 - 1990) and represented a major revival of an old side-school of proggy rock and experimentalism that had been too long neglected, finding fractionated expression in various other bands of the day but rarely as powerfully executed or as cohered as this. In fact, it would not be inappropos to think of Loop as a more lucid Glenn Branca or Rhys Chatham.

This initial release reached the #4 position on UK indie charts and secured survivability for the trio. Heaven's End consists of 8 long songs, all seemingly recorded in one of the famed old 60s European grottos with echoes, overdrive, zinging flashes, sideways impulses, and uncontrollable decibels flying all over the place. Here, though, in this Reactor re-issue, the much sought after slab is being given the Legends treatment so beloved of sonic omnivores and other record hounds. The packaging is as well conceived and sturdy as any good Japanese CD, and a bonus disc carries 6 more tracks, 3 from the Heaven's End sessions and 3 more from John Peel's infamous reliquaries.

Though the entire collation is dense, ringing, and miasmic, internal particulars vary from barbled stoner drone to distinctive Mick Bolton-esque (earliest UFO) lead lines to Jurassic quagmires to cosmic worm-holes to aliens being turned inside out. The second disc duplicates many of the first CD's songs but with significant differences. If you're a fan of this music and group, it'd be advisable to snap these up as soon as possible because stuff like this is treasured and sells out quickly, with chances at further renditions being dicey and usually years in the offing. There's no better way to wallow in what the shaggy-haired denizens of the Summer of Love were grooving on when no one was looking than this extremely satisfying orgy of brain-stunning waves of sophisticatedly primitive 80s sturm-und-drang-smithing.

[NOTE: This is one of four reviews on the cluster-release of Loop's catalogue. For the remainder, see here, here, and here.]

Track List:

Disc 1Disc 2
  • Soundhead
  • Straight to your Heart
  • Forever
  • Heaven's End
  • Too Real to Feel
  • Fix to Fall
  • Head On
  • Carry Me
  • Rocket USA (Mix 3)
  • Soundhead (orig. mix)
  • Head On (orig. mix)
  • Soundhead
  • Straight to your Heart
  • Rocket USA
No writing credits given.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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