Kim Withers

Throughout 2022, LA-based band The Loud Bangs have released six five-track EPs, the last of which is called “Salvation Memorial Hospital”. The band has been compared to other great shoegaze and post-rock artists, but there is something very unique and incomparable that I found in this EP. The vocals here are muffled gibberish or some phrases that can’t be heard clearly, which makes them ominous and ethereal. The sound and style are a mix of shoegaze and alternative with the keys/synths being the star of the whole show, so let’s see what these 5 tracks have to offer.

 The opening track, Spectral Field, has some ambient synthesizers and guitars with multiple effects on them. I really love the way the vocals are muffled and processed to sound the same way, the overall feeling of this track is dreamy and uplifting. There are so many fine details that can’t be heard upon first listen, that you’ll have to repeat the song multiple times to completely grasp it. The second track, Late Day Magnets, reminded me heavily of The Cranberries as its vocal lines and clean guitars remind me of the 90s and 2000s Alternative Rock so much. There are ambient synth sounds but there are also keyboard riffs and melodies that add a dark rave/dance element that will appeal to goth rock/EBM/industrial fans. Candy Sometimes Always continues in that same vein, but has faster drum and bass lines. The vocals are wailing and ethereal, and their mix with a poppy and dancy instrumental is a beautiful contradiction that works wonders in emotional delivery and makes the track more replayable. Future Bruises is very soothing and calming, and although the vocals are just muffled and unclear gibberish phrases, it feels like they are speaking to me with their tone and twang. The song has an extended outro where the drums and bass progressively grow heavier and faster. The fifth and final track, Playboy Tattoo, has the most conventional song structure and style on the EP. It’s based on the guitars and the keyboards/synths only take the additional melodies. In the midsection of the song, the synths are heavily distorted too, which I found to be a very cool gimmick. 

In conclusion, this is one of those albums filled with minor details that you must repeat to get a grasp on. The first impression I got from this album is that I get to hear 80s and 90s goth rock mixed with shoegaze mixed with 2000s alternative in a seamless blend that will keep the album stuck in your mind for days after you’ve finished it.