Overall Score: 8/10 Engagement: 7/10 Experimentation: 8/10 Consistency: 8/10 Pros: An engaging, mysterious soundtrack album that delves deeper into the DNA of Loathe Cons: Serving as an extension of their work, the album is hit or miss depending on your engagement with this concept.
One year on from the release of their breakout record ‘I Let It In And It Took Everything’, Liverpool’s Loathe decided to build on their current run with a surprise release. With a project that caught even the most devout Loathe fans off guard, ‘The Things They Believe’ adds another installment into the world created by their last album. A 35-minute instrumental record, this project sees Loathe strip everything back to create an immersive soundtrack experience. In what should’ve been a huge year for the band celebrating the success of their 2020 release, they’ve refused to rest on their laurels and instead invite people deeper into the world they have crafted.
Serving as a halfway house in the bands’ album cycles, ‘The Things They Believe’ showcases Loathe at their atmospheric best. Allowed to run wild with their more expansive elements, all 12-tracks move seamlessly into one another and this helps to craft a soundtrack experience. Engulfed in synth-led builds giving way to more subtle and inviting sections, ‘The Things They Believe’ captures the feeling of a band stuck in limbo. With instrumental arrangements that wouldn’t feel out of place on the soundtrack to Blade Runner, everytime it begins to show some direction, the next track seems to revert back to a mysterious and questioning piece. This feeling of an album where everything exists in a loop is part of what makes it such an engaging listen, it’s a soundscape that feels like it’s both living and going nowhere simultaneously.
With the album’s release and material being such a surprise to fans, it’s always going to have a hit or miss effect. It is an ambient soundtrack album that some Loathe fans will understand and engage with as an extension of their previous work. For others, it may just feel like background music that doesn’t add anything all that impactful to their formula. For fans going into this album expecting something along the lines of their previous work or for new fans, this whole album will be a strange experience that feels like it’s lacking something. Fans that are willing to buy into this extension of their sound and the places that they can go with it will get the most out of it.
Buying into that concept gives the listener an engaging soundtrack experience that does a great job of capturing the world that Loathe have created. It’s a record that doesn’t answer or pose any questions, what it does so well is creating a feeling throughout. A feeling of limbo where despite it’s rises and more stripbacked moments, feels so cohesive as an ambient and mysterious soundtrack album. Just like the best music from Loathe, ‘The Things They Believe’ has a beauty to it but also always feels like something darker and more sinister is lurking just beneath the surface.
The Things They Believe is out now on Sharptone Records.