"IF it happens, it happens.. ."
Loop are the noise at the end of the wind tunnel. While looking at mauve mountains and silver streams, I hear Loop. While suffering on one hand the motor-bike excessives getting it wrong, on the other the Pet Shop D'arby Boy executives getting it bought for them by the record company, I wish for Loop to breathe. I pick up the whole of everything a curly shell- and out jump Loop.
Ladies, real ladies, leap up onto chairs, clutch the hems of their petticoats, and squeal. Toddlers in romper suits point and say: "There. Wait, here. No, there." Grown men try to mash it with a rusty trowel, but miss, and scratch their wrists on the skirting board. Pandemonium. Whoops!
Loop never gets to explain what should be explained to those who want it explained. So Loop just has to go on doing it. This thing called Loop, a glistening pink missing link, kissing mink and pissing zinc, is very capable of mediocrity. But, when it gets it right, well rain me down with sickles and scrape me up with spatulas, there are no prisoners, no mercy, no theories, no room at the inn cos you're out of it. Loop, simple and direct, could be yet more vast and all-encompassing than Whitman or weightlessness or wax falling from a candle in a wet wild winter. Stale? Language is. lupine. Loop fruit. Loop tape. Loop the Loop, now there's an advance. . .
"It's just a compact little name. It hasn't got 'The' or anything like that in front of it. It's just there. These days that's unusual; everybody else seems to be getting their name from kitchen utensils. That does f***ing nothing for me. I'm dismayed about this new tweeness; everybody trying to be 12 years old. I find it unsettling. It leaves me blank. If people say we're just 'noisy rubbish' at least we've forced a reaction out of them."
Are you angry?
"Er. . .not really, no."
What do you write about?
"Ah. What a question."
Yes. You could say that. I suppose.
"Little things. Niggly things. Not real day-to-day I-wanna-change-the-world stuff. More. . . dream state things'. Nightmares and phobias. stuff like that."
"lce cream!" I scream. Loop want to burn your daughters and pillage your rapists. They haven't a clue, which means their guesses are invaluable. They go from A to Y then look sheepishly at each other and stutter. It's all done with lights.
Loop had a great big single released on Head Records. It was "16 Dreams", backed with "Head On" and "Burning World" (a prism of perfection). Now they have another one. It is "Spinning", attached to "Deep Hit" and "I'll Take You There" (The Staple Singers straddle a sten gun). It's even greater, even oddly bigger, truth to tell. Loop like the way new records smell. This is worth something. Loop have just finished (?) supporting Primal Scream on tour. Infantile bleat. This does not fit ideally into my fantasy, as Primal Scream are possibly the most neglible pop group in the country, and drippy with it. Loop and I have to agree to differ on this. What kind of simpleton packs in The Mary Chain to start doing Byrds impersonations?
Anyway that's neither here nor there, which is where we'll find Loop, spinning and spinning indeed (like Syreeta in flames) with gargantuan guitarabusing gibberish, into something pretty akin to a distillation of the residual scion in 87's cuckolded pop consciousness. The refractory Loop are neither hoofing the rocking-chair rock revival nor skipping the trivial fantastic of the Neil and Ben and Mandy glamour-without-the-glamour generation.
Like most of the best noise-beat-shriek vendors throughout history, they can't talk like prophets or regale you with wit, poetry, and pain-absorbing insight. That fits. Norman Mailer can't make records as well as Mel & Kim "Grunt", said Elvis. Why be jack of all trades when you can be master of one for now? Why talk before you can run? Loop are as white as they come.
"You always get creepy kids in movies. There's the fresh-faced kid, but you look at the eyes and you think 'Jesus! Warp factor 10' We're all big horror movie fans. That escapism's just really good."
I'M sitting opposite Robert, formerly called Josh, who's the group's singer/ Iyricist/ spokesman/ guitarist. Loop also consists of James (guitar), Glen with a belt (bass), and John, previously with The Wishing Stones, who has just replaced Bex (female) on stand-up drums. They are the unlikeliest stars.
Robert seems a nice enough young man to me - likes a drink and a smoke, has a fringe down to his knees, waves his arms around coyly, wears a delapidated grey shirt, gives me two Loop badges which I'll give to my kid brother if I ever have one. . .
"I like Martin Amis, William Burroughs. . . not just one style of writer. I'll read anything: give it a go if it looks good. I dunno - I don't really think about other walks of life, really. I'm quite obsessed with music, films, and. . . those sort of stuff. I don't really think about politics and stuff like that. People will probably say 'Well you should', but really, I can't be bothered, I'm too interested in other things. It's so blunt, so cut and dried. You can moan about it till you're blue in the face but it's not gonna change the situation, is it? Like being stuck in a dead-end job. I've always done manual things, fitted car radios and stuff. Some people are too unadventurous to say 'right, it, I'll go and look for something else'. They're quite happy moaning from nine to five. They still do it.
"Not being allowed to be in a band would be the only thing that would spur me to commit suicide. Nothing else would. But that would. I would seriously be upset. We're all dead obsessive about music."
On the walls are photographs of handicapped children and of Africans. Who do you love?
"There's so many - I think fan worship is daft, when it's too manic. You've got to be slightly unhinged to get that way about Shakin' Stevens. I couldn't. Not about anybody."
So why did you start?
"I've always liked making a bit of a racket. It just happened really. We'd all been in various bands. .. it just sort of happened."
ROBERT De Loop has, as you can see, a premature grasp of the inevitability of certain motions, the futility of certain emotions. A lot of things are today said to have "just sort of happened". Sagaciously, I don't argue.
Loop admit to an influence you care to throw at them. (I only think of Blackfoot Sue when it's too late.) Except the ones they don't like. (This is where Hawkwind come in.) "There's no need to deny our influences, we try not to keep any boundaries."
The Velvets and The Stooges are however lauded. Naturally, I ask Robert if Loop are hippies or old punks or what. "Erm. . .probably there's an affinity with the interim. I mean late Sixties, early Seventies, Detroit bands - Stooges, MC5, SRC. The Velvets were - Jesus - just so unique. Are we 'psychedelic'? It depends how you define it - like some people think that The Grateful Dead are the be-all and end-all. I hate The Grateful Dead. I think they're f***king boring, just a bunch of blues R&B type people who happened to take some acid. I'm more into the Englishness of psychedelia Syd Barrett, The Pretty Things 68-69. There's no one thing. . .We've sort of got the spirit of punk as well. I think that was the first music I was around to get into.. ."
What about the present?
"I'm a bit worried - it's reverting back to 'free and easy'. Well no, not 'free and easy, but. . .people are just. . .existing. Not that we're out to prove anything, but people are just playing their jangly unexciting guitars. We're trying to create an atmosphere. Perhaps we're not thrilling to walch, but it's exciting iust to be in the room when it's all happening. .."
When it's all happening, Loop are making this storm of sound and kaleidoscopic lights splay across every surface you can or can't touch. . .
"We take labels with a pinch of salt. We've had all that 'Oh, they've just read "Uptight" 'stuff. I don't care. We're not the on y people using lights like that. The Mission use lights, don't they? It just helps us on the visual side. We don't exactly leap about and put on a show, do we? We're too busy concentrating on what we're doing."
Is that why you turn your backs on the audience? Or is it sublime arrogance? (Robert isn't, sadly, arrogant enough to say it's arrogance.)
"We've always done it; it's not a conscious effort. Dunno. . .It's iust something that happens. We're not a great deal to look at, as people. We don't dance."
Robert waves his arms around the air immediately above his shoulders. Suggesting embarrassment, suggesting ''Y'know, it's hard to explain." Well one of us has to, chummy. Don't we?
"Everybody has funny dreams, don't they? Everybody wakes up from weird dreams in a cold sweat. When you're asleep is when things that do worry you really get to you. Because there's nothing you can do. When you're awake in a normal day, you can switch off from it. But asleep, there's this attack on the senses.
"We've been called manic, an assault on the senses. That's what I want. Not to accuse but to make people think. Cos things are so f***king confusing. There's so many different things running around and you just don't know which way to go."
Are you crazy though? Are you?
"Oh no, no - it's not as if we're a bunch of acid-fried idiots runnin' around; it's just a thing that crosses everybody's mind whether they admit it or not. But the ones who let it go are probably crazier than the ones who just try and sort out their problems. I dunno. I mean - people who are never five minutes late, who have everything fixed, have everything laid out to their set plans - you can't exist like that! Some do, but then they get to bed and have nightmares about things falling apart. Or they wonder a bit. When they're on their own. Their little fears hit the. When they're emotionally uncovered for a moment, their minds are. . . plagued."
Loop have flown the coop, dived through the flaming hoop. What's this "Burning World' idea? "In a very loose way, it's a boy-girl situation. In a dream, again. The feeling I was trying to convey was when you're really trying to do something and, whatever you do, it just won't happen, won't work. It could be about a boy trying to do everything for a girl and she just doesn't wanna know, or it could be about trying to create something. . . y'know there's no real messages in our songs or anything. People can make up their own minds about them. like, at the end of the earlier David Cronenberg films, where it's left open. 'Rabid', or 'Squirm'. The one that started it's dead but there are still these others with parasites inside them who are going off to create havoc in the rest of the world. . ."
Do you want to be a celebrity?
"Nah, nah.I'm just happy. I'd be a fool to say I didn't wanna earn any money; I need to exist. I wouldn't mind some new boots. But if it stops tomorrow, it stops tomorrow. If it gets better, great I'll be so happy I'll pass out!"
Are you a George Michael fan?
"Who can take a guy like that seriously? He laughs behind our backs, dunne?
But what is this about burning? Really now.
"When nothing's going right for you and you feel like you're going to burst into flames."
Yeah? You feel like that often?
"Or that effect when everything around you just seems to be burning very slowly, just ebbing away. You' re trying to get to that thing but, whatever you do, you just can t get to it.lI's burning. It's burnt.
"Ha, that's deep twaddle if everl heard it!"
Oh, you can't beat a bit of the old deep twaddle now and again. Betterthan vitamins. let's talk about your admiration for Neil Young, Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth, and The Birthday Party. On second thoughts, no. let's talk about whether it's important to be young.
"No, I don't think it is really. We're all in our early twenties, and maybe it is a bit more exciting seeing a bunch of young guys get up there - like all that fuss about The Mary Chain, although it turns out they're knockin' on a bit more than they said they were. But like - Neil Young might be a bit of a dodderin' old fool but he can still hammer it out."
Hammering it out. A quaint phrase. Is that something you like doing?
"A lot of it's really spontaneous. Sometimes we write a song one day, play it the next. I don't like bands with 15 million chords - that all seems a bit predestined. How long oursongs go on depends on how well they're going, how we fee/about it.. .and f***k , everybody else if they don't like it. We really enjoy it."
Noise with just a hint of order is the most impertinent of interruptions. We have evolved in such a way that we now need it.
The first time I saw Loop they were halfway through. I walked in and was savagely embraced. They left either mystery or debris; my eyes had gone deaf, it was hard to be sure. Loop exude more grandeurthe more indulgent and convoluted they are. When they try to do common pop thrash they may as well be a group with "The" in front of their name; but when they linger and brood, when they wind and troop and reverb and whirr and shimmer, ignoring us and our facile critical faculties, throwing mud at the referee, sulking in the toilets during double science, all sockless and sexless and lazy as lazarus, they're an infinite cascade. Hope springs eternal from their Croydon palms. lap it up. Loop before you weep.
Originally appeared in Melody Maker July 18, 1987
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