Review: “Let Loose” by Let Loose (CD, 1994)

Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown is the 1994 eponymous debut album Let Loose by British pop trip Let Loose. Will this album make you feel like you’re Seventeen again, or will it drive you Crazy? Read on…

Let Loose - Let Loose (1994) album
Let Loose – Let Loose (1994) album

The album opens bursts open with that all-too-familiar tinkling piano line of lead single Crazy For You before some electric guitar roars in. Richie Wermerling‘s vocals jump straight into this belter of a pop song, making light work of every part of verses and the chorus. The verses are just as catchy as the chorus, and they build up into the latter perfectly. Oddly, despite it being a complete masterpiece, the track wasn’t a UK hit though when it was first released in April 1993, stalling at #44. It wasn’t until a re-release in June 1994 that it became a #2 hit.

This leads straight into to second single Seventeen, which like Crazy For You, had been released previously before becoming a hit. This track soon brings out roaring rock guitars which Richie teases towards in his voice. The track then takes a softer tender sound in the verses with singer-songwriter Nik Kershaw on keyboards, and he scores a producer credit for this song too. The track originally hit #44 in Spring of 1994, but 6 months later it reappeared and rose to #11 in the UK singles chart. It’s not quite as catchy as Crazy For You, perhaps because it lacks an equivalent to that piano line, but it’s a nice song.

Third single One Night Stand followed on with this success, giving them a #12 UK hit. The track opens with more roaring guitars – giving us another nice little riff, set atop some drum machines. There are moments here where i’m reminded a little of the softer Lenny Kravitz tracks from the early 90s. As the song drops into the first verse, the guitars step aside to a percussive and synth against Richie’s warm vocals. The electric guitars lurk, shoring up the final part in the background. It doesn’t quite build like the other songs, but again it’s a nice enough track.

The Way I Wanna Be follows this with bubbling synths starting out like an early Erasure track before those electric guitars drop in. Richie’s vocals sit amongst occasional guitar roars and breathy synth pads as the track meanders along. There’s a nice guitar solo and key change in the middle, and the harmonies are really good too, but it lacks the catchiness of earlier tracks. It steps a little close to Hanson territory at times, but doesn’t overstep the line. The track was the album’s second single although

That’s followed by I Love Your Smile, with a note to ‘Mrs. Robinson’, although it remains unclear quite who this is. There’s plenty more vocal harmonies here that remind me of some of Lenny Kravitz’s tracks from his 1995 album Circus. This track might well be a plodder, but it has many layers of musicians and instruments, and really feels like an epic piece.

Cardboard City is up next and it’s a chugger of a track, loaded with bass, roaring guitar riffs, and plenty of whispery vocals and backing vocals. It’s quite a nice sounding track, although doesn’t stray too far from the initial sound. It sounds a bit like it could belong to the Baggy era of 90’s UK music, and possibly to The Farm.

That’s followed by Shame, which opens with slow finger clicks, piano, and acoustic guitar. Richie takes an emotive soft approach to the vocals here. The piano and acoustic guitars sound lovely here, sat over a soft percussive beat. Synth strings swirl in the distance as Richie builds up his heartfelt croaky vocals. He gets to show off his vocals well at about the 3min mark where the song’s mid-section builds up to the final chapter. It’s a simple ballad, befitting of the song’s theme.

Super Sexy Real Thing follows that, and the sultriness of Richie’s vocals turns up a notch, as does the tempo. The guitars return to roar along, and are joined by some funky wah-wah (i think), at a pace that keeps the tambourine player busy. The thumping beat keeps this song moving, and its effect is one that makes this a foot-tapper and quite catchy. This is a great pick up.

Fourth and final single Best In Me is next, and the sleeve adds ‘Bedroom Effort’ to the title, and you realise that this was recorded in Richie’s bedroom when he was about 15. Naturally, his voice is a little softer here, and he even sings ‘I don’t care if I sound a little weak’. The vocals here are simple and really warm, and sit upon a strummed guitar and simple synth line makes this song sound really warm. A tinkling piano appears towards the end as a gentle percussive rhythm is tapped out, allowing the song to build up towards the end. The single reached #8 in the UK, and rightly so.

Devotion (I Don’t Need It) is up next, and at first the fast drums and synths might leave you fooled to believe that it was going to be that song by Nomad, but no, it swiftly changes as those electric guitars chug back in. The chorus is really quite catchy here, whilst the verses are a little bit busy, but the over all effect is another belting foot-tapping track. Again, there’s a wonderful electric guitar solo towards the end that just adds to the energy of this song. This probably should have been a single.

That leads on to I Believe, opening with a teaser of what you’d be forgiven as those Crazy For You pianos, before plunging into some throbbing bass-filled pop song that sounds like it might have once been kept in Big Fun’s top drawer. Richie gets to show off his vocal range here as the song races along. There’s a moment in the snarly delivery of the little ‘no no no’ lyric where all I can think of is Matt Goss Owing Me Nothing from Bros. To be honest, this could have been a Bros song too. It’s an upbeat and unashamed pop song.

The album closes with Love Like There’s No Tomorrow, itself loaded with a plodded chug of guitars and simple beats that would do Phil Collins or Alannah Miles proud. Richie gets some some long protracted vocals here, and this in itself allows him to show his vocal power off, whilst also sounding quite a bit Phil Collins-y, and even a sultry Britney at times. The chug of the song fits perfectly with the sexy times that the song alludes to. The layers to this song really build well, and that helps to bring it together to make it a nice catchy guitar pop love song.

Let Loose’s lead single ‘Crazy For You’

Verdict

Over all, this album is a great example of what a 90’s pop band could do when dance routines were swapped with instruments.

Richie’s vocals fit the range of upbeat and chugging pop-rock songs perfectly, and he switches between them with great ease. The highlights here are undoubtedly Crazy For You, and Best In Me (their two biggest singles), but also I Believe and Devotion (I Don’t Need It) deserve that accolade too.

Many of the songs here are musically interesting, building up the layers of the songs as we head through Richie’s (mostly) lyrics, and the majority of the songs are catchy. After the album’s burst of life in the first two tracks, it does take a slump for a while, with The Way I Wanna Be being the low point (interesting, it didn’t get re-released).

At 12 songs long, the album could easily have ditched a song or two to ensure that the energy was consistent, but overall a great album that returns to form after that short trough.

Rated 4 stars - You're missing a treat!
  • POP RESCUE 2021 RATING: 4 / 5
  • 1994 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #20
  • POP RESCUE COST: £2.02 from an eBay seller.

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