Common Loon: The Long Dream of Birds

Common Loon
The Long Dream of Birds
(Parasol/Hidden Agenda)

From the fertile soil of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, has sprung yet another gorgeous, fluorescent blossom. The first full-length by beloved local duo Common Loon (Robert Hirschfeld and Matt Campbell) was produced by the gifted, elusive popcraftsman Adam Schmitt.

The Long Dream of Birds is lush and colorful, sweet and polished, and helps extract the antiquated term “psychedelic” from its dated septuagenerian context, and usher it into the present. “Psychedelic” music, here, then, refers to a preoccupation with timbre, sonic texture, processing, guitar sounds: what Brian Eno calls “the vertical dimension of sound.”

The music doesn’t sound like a guitar-drum rock duo so much as fruit falling fully formed from an ancient, though thriving, tree. While the juicy sonics are likely to be appealing to any casual listener, the serious listener is likewise given some opportunities to think into lyrical depth, with a song about Palestine, and a prose-poetry-driven anthem to Mexico. The record is astonishingly accomplished, ambitious but not pretentious, and uniquely of its time in the best way possible: how it assimilates and reflects everything that came before, from the Summer of Love right through the concurrent release “Congratulations” by MGMT, which also shimmers with the same elixir of influences.