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Luka Bloom

Tribe
Cooking Vinyl Records
www.lukabloom.com


Luka Bloom's music has made a few turns over the past five or six years, going from the hushed sleepiness of Before Sleep Comes to the gypsy-inspired ragas and reflective lyricism of Innocence. On his latest release, Tribe, Luka turns a somewhat darker, more introspective eye on the world. Like his last couple of releases Luka steers clear of the normal love song, and instead delves deeper into his own humanity and the exploration of the motives and goings-on of the world around him. The result is an album that is more evocative than anything he's yet released, filled with darker and more personal sentiments than ever before… and some inspiring and brutal honesty.

The album's title track is a low-toned affair with a subtle rolling feel, produced even more subtly than the songs on Before Sleep Comes. There is a feeling of joy and hope with a subdued flavor that lulls the listener into a slow rocking motion with the soft groove and a poetry that speaks of the wonders of humanity and the things that connect people. The wonder found in the world around us is nicely portrayed in "I Am A River", a well produced softly played number with some aural tints that break a bit of new ground for Luka. This album holds contributions from electric guitars, diverse percussion, and even some synthesizer that play nicely alongside Bloom's trademark acoustic guitars and traditional Irish drums. "Change" is possibly the most progressive of the tracks, building around a sharp, dirty backbeat and an incredible electric piano riff. The dynamics of the song lull and build into crescendos of sound and emotion unlike anything Luka has ever done before, sounding at times almost like Pink Floyd, especially as the song breaks into the instrumental break "Early Morning." A completely non-traditional love song is found in "Out There" as Luka asks purposefully, "Did you know I was out there?/I knew you were out there/ I saw you in a dream/I saw you like a summer's evening you were all alone out there…" as the song pulses with deeply throbbing heartbeat drumming, glistening piano, and atmospheric synthesizers. "Star Of Doolin" is an instrumental tune that brings to the forefront Luka's Irish roots, filled with fiddles and a droning reverence. The plight of humanity and the simple truths of the planet and the lives of those who inhabit her are put forthright in the talking story of "Homeless" as Luka expounds on how seeing a man on the street made him re-evaluate and put in a different light his own existence. The simple poem of "Peace Rains" is set to a well-produced lo-fi backdrop that breaks into the heart at a completely different angle than any other song on the album, featuring stolid drums, overdriven guitars, and bleeping synths… it's a weird trip for a Luka Bloom record, almost like listening to some of Emmylou Harris' more recent works.

Tribe is a bit of a departure for Luka Bloom, involving sonic characteristics he's never approached before and a dynamism that can only be found by involving larger numbers of participants. But the heart of his music remains his lyrical sentimentality and the keen ability he possesses of relating his humanity so effortlessly, thereby creating a perfect safe place for people to hear things that may make them think about something in a way that they've never thought about it before. Luka Bloom pulls on heartstrings and makes the soul wonder at its purpose more strongly than ever before. Truly, this is his finest work to date, breaking new ground while holding true to the strengths that inhabit all of his works.

-David DeVoe


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