Under Review




by Andrew Reeves

Loom - Epyllion

Loom is Toronto-based cutie-pie Brooke Manning. Epyllion is her first album, recorded at infamous Canadian musical polymath Dale Morningstar’s Gas Station Studios. Manning’s hushed, lullaby vocals glow in an alluring state of tension between blissful peace and restless, unnameable longing.

In an asterisk-marked footnote to a line in the song “Grown,” it says how the line was “Inspired by A[rthur] Russell’s ghost in a field in New Brunswick.” Indeed, Epyllion‘s ambient minimalism feels positively haunted with the sad, almost inaudible whispers of the dead, speaking urgent messages to the living to fully embrace life’s precious, fleeting moments.

Manning’s lyrics on “It Is Love,” perhaps the most romantic track, are a meditation on companionship and mortality: “If I die / I mean when I die / I want to see you the moment before I close my eyes.” The artist’s understated, melodic poetry is delivered with the joy and sadness of one whose heart is open to a virtually unbearable degree.

“Around Again” is a good track to check out. Its heavy, overdrive-addled bass line lurches back and forth over just two notes, dripping with lust and impermanence like beads of condensation on the inside of the window of a parked car.

You’re not going to play Epyllion if you want to fill the dance floor, but if you want to be mellow and groove to iridescent melancholia, it’s the perfect choice. But be warned: you may find yourself barely resisting the impulse to write embarrassing Facebook messages to Brooke Manning professing your undying affection. Don’t do it.