With their new album, eyeland, out today via Washington Square Music, indie folk outfit The Low Anthem not only push the envelope, they blast through the boundary walls of folk music with a musical bulldozer.
Surrealism abounds on eyeland; the opening track, appropriately named “in eyeland”, is a dreamlike introduction into this strange new territory being explored behind those obliterated genre walls. The familiar indie folk vibe is present in gems like “the pepsi moon”, “in the air hockey fire”, and “dream killer”; the band shakes things up with the rollicking “ozzie” in the near middle of the sonic journey. The lyrical content is frank, covering subjects such as border guards masturbating behind airport mirrors, people winning Nobel Prizes for merely doing their jobs, and referring to someone as a dream killer in the most tenderly-delivered tune on the record.
The Low Anthem stretches their collective creative muscle, experimenting with instrumental sounds from the traditional to the not-so-traditional—warm and buttery clarinet, surprisingly pleasant instances of alarm bells, swirling synth-y riffs, electronic blips, and hints of crackling vinyl. In this writer’s humble opinion, the most abstractly inventive track from the album, “wzgddrmtnwrdz”—a unique title reminiscent of wandering fingers on a keyboard—is appropriately-named, as it begins with newsroom-like pounding on the keys of a vintage typewriter, a sound heard throughout amidst muffled amplified voices, chorale-like whistling echoes of The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”, electronic interference, and, of all things, squawking birds.
This is not the party album of the summer. It’s probably not one you will listen to on a road trip in your convertible with the top down and your hair blowing in the wind. However, if you want to escape to a different realm, if you want to let your mind wander and discover how delicacy can be born from the dissimilar, then you should freely embark on the sensory adventure that is eyeland.
Purchase eyeland: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/eyeland/id1112778425