San Francisco quintet Loquat makes gently bubbling pop with lots in common with the fruit for which they're named: it's a bit exotic, tart, and sweet. The group began as an electronic pop duo featuring Kylee Swenson and Earl Otsuka; after spending several years composing dreamy sounds at their computers, the duo opted to strap on guitars and form a fully functional band, recruiting bassist Anthony Gordon, keyboardist Ben Kasman, and drummer Christopher Lautz. Loquat's orchestration is tasteful and restrained, yet lush in an intimate, crepuscular way. Vocalist Swenson's breathy mezzo-soprano is key, often recalling
Chan Marshall's wistfully winsome vocal style and serving as an effectively restrained complement to the band's dreamy instrumentation in the manner of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval or The Sundays' Harriet Wheeler. One significant difference between Loquat and the above-mentioned artists is their occasional inclusion of gentle electronic accents and effects, giving their slow-motion pop melancholia a bit of a shoegazing "trip-pop" flavor. The group debuted in early 2002 a three-song EP titled The Penny Drop, which they quickly followed up a few months later with the delightful Fall EP on Dreams By Degrees, the fourth installment of the SF label's Seasons series, which also features EPs by Coastal, Sappington, and Colophon.