Le Loup

Family is a mess in every sense of the term — sometimes endearing, often directionless, the band’s reach almost always exceeds their grasp. With their chanted vocals, cavernous reverb and eclectic instrumentation, Le Loup clearly aspire to Arcade Fire-style grandeur, but their songs lack the anthemic sweep needed to fit their outsized production. These weaknesses are especially apparent in the record’s muddled middle stretch, four indistinguishable tracks that never achieve forward motion and severely derail momentum. Tellingly, the two strongest songs here are companion pieces with identical melodies — “Beach Town” apes David Essex’s “Rock On” without ever quite sliding into reggae, while “Neahkahnie,” free of any suffocating production, recalls Simon and Garfunkel. These songs, along with “Grow,” boast the album’s strongest melodies and make a convincing case for Le Loup pulling back and letting their songs speak for themselves.