With a name like Jeremy Loops, one might expect to hear the sounds of someone manning the controls of electronic music production or turntables. Quite the opposite.
There is nothing artificial about Loops’ (born Jeremy Hewitt) music. It is as organic as his claimed influences (Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, et al.). Loops modernizes folk music by fusing its most honest characteristics with hip-hop, reggae and pop. The result is a catchy, thought-inspiring, one-man-show that puts traditional folk instruments within the modern, urban backdrop of Loops’ native Capetown, South Africa.
Far from being a Bob Marley knock off, Loop’s music reflects the spirituality and self-examination of Marley, with his own signature stamp put on it. The song “Power” is one such example with it’s inspirational message of appreciating your lot in life and the ability to positively change it, if you so desire. This is a tune in which a reggae flavor meets banjo and harmonica, an unusual yet interesting combination.
Loops clearly exudes the environment in which he grew up. The African flavor that presents itself subtly and not so subtle throughout, sounds natural and not contrived. This may be an obvious presence in instrumentation or a vague allusion in a vocal. The rich, indigenous sound of an African chorus group sets the stage early on on the record in the opening track, “Sinner.” The ‘world’ vibe of the song ebbs and flows to varying degrees within the majority of the tracks.
Though the atmosphere is present, this is not a world music record. The mixture of that sound and clearly American-influenced folk and pop makes this record a stew of well-put-together ingredients. The hip-hop flavors of “Running Away” and “My Shoes” practically take the listener to New York with its eclectic array of sounds and ethnicities. All of this is done with an upbeat feel-good vibe that sounds in sync with summertime. Closing track “Basil” exits on a note of positivity, leaving the listener in wanderlust mode, searching out the next source of happiness.
“Trading Change” is a record with interesting sound varieties that offers something for all. In a world where a select few are revered for their positive, “we are all one” style of music, Loops may soon be hearing his name mentioned in the company of Jack Johnson, Matisyahu and a few others of that ilk. He has the songs and originality to create that niche for himself, a feat which he has already accomplished in his home country.
Top Tracks: Sinner, Basil
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