Photo by Alicia Rose

“Field Report to you, oh my God”* … I saw Loch Lomond at the Bootleg Theater on Thursday, June 17, 2010 and my god it was amazing!  If you don’t know, Loch Lomond is a Portland based band with a Scottish name and they’re fantastic.

I tend to point to the Decemberists (who Loch Lomond toured with in 2008) when people ask me to describe Loch Lomond, but that’s not totally accurate. Loch Lomond has the extremely talented Ritchie Young, whose vocal range and skill is priceless. Young is a skinny guy, so you don’t expect to hear impeccable falsettos and big strong sounds come out of his mouth, but he does it seemingly effortlessly. His voice holds its own among the myriad instruments on stage, creating a whirlwind of bittersweet indie rock.

The set opened with “Elephants and Little Girls,” which starts off as a whimsical stroll through the woods via Young’s exquisite falsetto skills, and then builds up to include the entire band singing “Now we’re having fun/Now we’re living life.” And there I was, at the sparsely decorated Bootleg living life and having fun.  Loch Lomond treated us to “Bird and a Bear,” and “A Field Report,” some of my favorites that can be found on last year’s “Trumpet’s For Paper Children.”  They also served up some fresh new songs from the “Night Bats” EP, like the eponymous “Night Bats,” “Ghost Of An Earthworm” and “Wax & Wire.” The biggest treat of all though was hearing “The Earth Has Moved Again,” a brand new song that you can’t find on any of their records yet.

The songs tend to deal with matters of melancholy, but with a self-aware, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that’s almost impossible to find.  There’s lots of talk of freedom, virgins, mountains, bears and laughing children but it’s not all so peachy. Loch Lomond has a darkness that rolls in with the fog, whether Scottish or Pacific Northwestern.

You can pick up their latest EP, “Night Bats” on iTunes, or download “Trumpets for Paper Children” for free or by donation right here.

*I’m not totally crazy, I’m quoting their song A Field Report!

Words: Roxy Roknian