Loving might be a band that could easily be reduced to a Spotify “Chill Indie” playlist, but on If I Am Only My Thoughts, the trio of David Parry, Jesse Henderson, and his brother Lucas Henderson, offer something more in their alluring psychedelic folk. Like a Haruki Murakami novel, the Victoria band captures a sense of existential dread in their lyrics — they meander about their life, not knowing where to go, reaching empty conclusions that circle back to pontificating through their music. Many of us at one point in our lives must face mortality no matter how far we are from death, not knowing exactly how close we are to it. Loving attempts to appease that feeling by making music that eases those fears.
On their self-titled EP Loving, demos only scratched the surface in what they could do. While permeated with a wave of melancholia, the EP had a sun-kissed sensation that’s been carried over onto If I Am with tracks like “Forgot Again” that felt like daydreaming on a hammock by the beach. On “Visions,” that sunny disposition is apparent as Loving’s signature slinky-like guitars delight and charm. On the self-titled track, Henderson sounds like lighter Paul McCartney without range. He sings, “Adrift like light along a riverbed / I’m going somewhere I imagine / At least in my head” as if the daydreams are vivid as ever. On “Lately in Another Time,” the dreams get overshadowed by futility. “All of this time I spend just getting by / sometimes forget to wonder why” sings Henderson. The track’s final instrumental suspends time as piano twinkles and the guitar lead drifts off as if also getting lost down an endless path.
It’s when “Nihilist Kite Flyer” begins, that Loving settle into this dread. It was always present, but acceptance is achieved — “And though I’ve always wanted an answer / Now I know better,” sings Henderson. The swaying guitars carry a pace that evokes one meandering down a path of misdirection, but its melody is so reassuring that it’s easy to settle. With a fuller sound, more instruments, more kaleidoscopic effects and a little more polish in the production, If I Am Only My Thoughts offers harmony in our anxieties through calming contemplation.