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Looner Album Review
I Love My Tamagotchee!

Reviewed by Stephanie Nolasco

When a Hollywood couple names themselves after a balloon fetish, you know everyone is bound to stop in their tracks and do a double take. No, we’re not talking about a Brangelina sex tape, but the latest band to hit the music scene, a band that has a single that will definitely get your attention. It helps that husband and wife duo Zoe and Angel Roché Jr. of Looner have Ziggy Marley serving as Executive Producer for their EP. However, Looner was already garnering media attention for their dreamy, infectious fusions of reggae-rock and playful, catchy lyrics that stick like a chewed up wad of Doublemint. Then again, who doesn’t love to sing along about guilty pleasures?

Unlike most up-and-coming bands, Looner has successfully made their mark in music. Angel, who relocated to Los Angeles to pursue the dream of becoming a rock star, has already recorded and toured with Dave Navarro and Marley, which explains the Grammy Award-winning front man’s interest in working with Looner. Zoe, the daughter of film composer Basil Poledouris, made a melodic contribution to the soundtrack of Conan the Barbarian, a feature film her father scored. At the age of nine, she became one of the youngest artists to join the ranks of BMI. Zoe’s sultry, smoky vocals match her blonde, vintage glamour persona, giving audiences some eye candy with their music. While these accomplishments would create high expectations among curious listeners, Looner doesn’t disappoint. Their single “I Love My Tamagotchee!,” references the Japanese toy that became one of the most popular things to own during the 90’s right alongside Tickle Me Elmo. The result is a feel-good digital dance track that keeps you hooked and wanting more. Before the song comes to an end, you’ll be chanting "I Love My Tamagotchee!" non-stop, all thanks to Angel’s hypnotic chorus which can be both a good and a bad thing. The music makes you want to swivel your hips as if you were dancing at a hipster nightclub in Williamsburg. The slow, yet persistent guitar riffs provide this bubblegum pop a hard edge, taking away the guilt from dancing along to this underground hit.

However, if you’re ready to wind down, Looner has something to offer to all - thanks to Mary Jane. The post-disco hit “Pass The Dutchie” has been remade countless times since its 1982 release, but that hasn’t stopped Looner from recording the classic track and making it their own. Rather than declaring political feelings towards marijuana, the mesmerizing, soothing melody describes a “magical summer” where good feelings or a “nice, natural spliff” is passed around. Yes, Looner injects some roots reggae intertwining with the radio-friendly pop plus adding some spacey synths to their rendition, but the lyrics are all theirs. Unlike her performance on “I Love My Tamagotchee!,” Zoe sings girlish, child-like vocals on “Pass The Dutchie” that are wildly haunting. Ultimately, you’ll feel like you’ve had some dutchie passed your way…and you’ll love every second of it.

Is Looner the most spectacular thing you’ll ever hear? No, but that doesn’t mean the duo isn’t ready to be heard. With the help of reggae’s contemporary icon (Ziggy Marley), along with some laid back tunes that will put a smile on anyone’s face, perhaps this is one musical obsession you won’t mind admitting out loud.

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