The third official recording from Loch Lomond, Paper The Walls, could just as well be a debut. It is one of those rare albums which has the power to deeply imprint itself on the listener. Recorded at Portland’s Type Foundry (M Ward, The Decemberists) with Adam Selzer (Norfolk and Western) and Skyler Norwood’s (Point Juncture WA) picturesque SE Washington studio, the album is rich with detail while retaining an uncommon sense of space. The songs have a pastoral quality, simple in form, but saturated with tone and texture, conjuring a sense of wonder and bemusement.
When Ritchey Young begins to sing, the listener is swept up in the uncommon range and power of his voice, which can switch from fragility to thunder in the turn of a phrase. But Young appears to have learned the power of restraint, saving vocal tornadoes for emotional apexes, buoyed by the 4 part harmonies and invigorating string section swells and rhythmic dynamics of the ensemble including members of Norfolk and Western, Horsefeathers, and Dolorean. Long a popular fixture of the Portland music landscape, Loch Lomond finally has an album that matches the lush intensity of their live performances. There is no studio trickery here. This music is reproduced faithfully on stage, with six to nine player performances, that truly make Loch Lomond a hard act to follow. There are no half measures with Loch Lomond. This is a band, long respected, that is gathering force to bring their gorgeous tidal waves of sound to a much wider audience. The audience is listening, indeed.