Loma Credit: Bryan C. Parker

Although I’ve tried often in the past, I’ve never been particularly moved by the music made by either Shearwater or former Chicagoans Cross Record, but there’s something about Loma, the new project from Jonathan Meiburg of the former and Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski of the latter that’s gripped me these last few weeks. The group’s self-titled Sub Pop debut is a slow dazzler, with Cross at her most smoky and soulful, as the group unfurls melodies at a crawl worthy of Low. Their thrilling soundscapes continually shift; the dramatic tilt of “Joy” conjures a boat being tossed around by giant waves, and the ephemeral, almost weightless gauziness electro-throb of “Relay Runner” suggests what Fleetwood Mac might sound like if they were still willing to make an interesting record. Cumulatively it comes across as if the members of Loma have found endless inspiration together, imagining one disparate setting after the next, and studding each tune with little sonic details. The songs deliver a series of poignant existential meditations. “I Don’t Want Children” is a devastating dreamscape where Cross imagines the tenderness and unity she can’t see in a lover through the eyes of thechildren she knows they’ll never have together. The rustic “Sundogs” offers weathered, bittersweet memories of a lost love that was snuffed out by death—“I could live twice / If I could see you alive and unfrozen,” sings Cross with weary resignation.   v