Keeley’s new Loomer pedal seeks to offer you those dreamy, fuzzed washes of shoegazer guitar that Kevin Shields and Belinda Butcher invented back in the ’90s. This unit is part of Keeley’s “famous-guitar-sounds-in-a-box” series launched earlier this year, which has has featured the likes of Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. But how close is it to the signature MBV sound?
My Bloody Valentine
The Loomer is essentially a huge fuzz tone with a large wash of reverb that aims to sound like My Bloody Valentine’s epic masterpiece Loveless. The album includes many seminal sounds that guitarist Kevin Shields spent a ridiculous amount of time perfecting in the studio. He often used the Yamaha SPX90 and the Alesis Midiverb II. These were combined with fuzz and a Jazzmaster tremolo arm, which was played rhythmically in a slow, powerful manner. The subtle warble of pitch, fuzz drone and washes of reverb were balanced in such a way that it made you feel as though you were gliding through a dream.
The Loomer seeks to distill it all down to one little box by combining tonne of fuzz and an ocean of reverb with an envelope-controlled vibrato. The latter simulates the Jazzmaster tremelo arm being ‘strummed’ as you play. Decay times on the Loomer can be set to 150ms, 200ms, 250ms, 300ms, 350ms, 400ms, 450ms, and 500ms.
I’m happy that Keeley has chosen My Bloody Valentine as part of their ‘soundalike’ series of pedals. It makes a change from effects based on boring old blues-based guitar legends. I was one of those kids that went out and bought the album on the day it was released and went to see them live on that tour.
Although the teaser demos sound in the ballpark, to my ear the pedal is missing a lot. It’s a little too clean and surgical, and not as organic and alive as those original recordings. I have spent a long, long time listening to Loveless, which is probably why I am hyper-critical with attempts to achieve that hallmark MBV sound. It’s a cool pedal, though, and hopefully some players will use it in new and unusual ways.
The Loomer, by the way, is not the first pedal to attempt to copy the Loveless tone. The Noisemaker Effects Loveless has already tried to offer this particular sound. But at least with the Loomer you’ll be able to try one out for yourself when they are released; the boutique Loveless pedal was only orderable over the internet on a waiting list, requiring you to order the pedal without having tried it out first.
RRP USD $299
Full specifications on the Keeley Loomer can be found here