“Heaven’s End”

LOOP – “Heaven’s End” (Reactor 01) February 2020

When I decided, a few months ago, to dig deeper into the so called late eighties Shoegaze and Dream Pop scene, a band called Loop were seemingly always mentioned as instigators and pioneers. They seemed to be the ideal combo for me to start my sonic education. I had previously never listened to Loop.

The “Heaven’s End” album I decided to buy first, was the recently re-issued 2CD set on the Reactor label. For some bizarre reason I decided to jump straight into the bonus CD which includes session recordings from 1987 and a John Peel radio session, transmitted on the 19th August 1987.

The first track is “Rocket USA”, a cover version of a song on Suicide’s first album from 1977, and the first thing I heard was an awful drum machine flooding the whole number with an incessant electronic beat. Now, I despise everything about hideous synthetic drum machine beats. This dreadful noise and even worse (if that is possible) gated drums, are the reason why I’ve almost obliterated everything ‘modern’ sounding that uses this god-awful audio processing technique, from my mind.

Rocket USA

Back to “Rocket USA” – it’s lousy and is a wreck with THAT synthetic beat sample. Loop strangely thought it was a decent tune because they also recorded it for the August ’87 John Peel session. I was thinking to myself that I’d made an horrendous decision in buying “Heaven’s End” and in my mind I was already contemplating selling the CD on eBay. How much could I sell it for? Was the second track “Soundhead” just as bad?

“Soundhead”, at least has proper drumming and the production of the drums is fine, they’re not too loud, almost buried deep in the mix. This is how I like drums and percussion to sound. No need to blow the bloody car doors off, as Michael Caine would say.

By “Head On” I’m really starting to feel and ‘see’ the sound of their heavy drones of fuzz and wah wah guitar effects. This is so much better. It all sounds positively druggy, like a mind altering mantra of incessant and repetitive noise, but it’s cool noise.

By “Straight To Your Heart” I’m hooked. This number rips away for almost ten minutes. This is not some over-long hippie acid shit, this is REAL and ESSENTIAL. The group are ‘locked’ in tight and take-off above the clouds and I start to travel with them by thought. I can hardly make out any words in the vocals. Don’t think it matters at all though. These are essentially instrumental experiments. . . . . but then the last track, another version of “Rocket USA” kicks in and it destroys my tranquil thoughts completely. No need to play that ever again, it’s always going to suck!

Heaven’s End

With a minimum of blabber and smoke, Loop’s debut album, “Heaven’s End”, has just been released. It has made it into the best LPs of the year charts of at least two NME writers. It should be on yours.

An unashamedly psychedelic affair, in a particularly psychotic 1987 way, “Heaven’s End” – the termination of God’s kingdom rather than the celestial exit door – wears some of its influences on its sleeve: a still from Kubrick’s 2001 and a dedication to Arthur Lee of Love.

A mindcave of melodic distortion and wah-wah, sinister, nervy and jagged, “Heaven’s End” is paradise postponed through erosion. Punk and psychedelia corroded into a howling. If you can imagine hopping into a concrete mixer filled with jellyfish and switching the machine onto maximum rumble, that’s the effect of Loop: stinging, eveloping and loud.
(NME, 12/12/87)

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