Lower Than Atlantis
Wolf At Your Door Records
29 March 2010
by Tomas Doyle
Nuance is a wonderful thing. It can turn a cheeky wink into a conspiratorial sign, a smile into a sarcastic dagger in the back of an enemy and a clap of appreciation is easily slowed into a mocking clap of listless distain and indifference. Imagine a life without nuance, the world would keep spinning of course, but things would be, well, a lot duller – a lot less fun.
Lower Than Atlantis don’t really understand the concept of nuance – a quick listen to the eponymous opening track of this album will tell you as much. I would go so far as to say that in lyrical terms at least it is the worst song I have heard in 2010 – he loves his mum, he hates his dad, he likes words that rhyme. It is not exactly an exercise in Wildean wordsmithery and more importantly leaves me with a sense of forboding about what on earth to expect from the remaining 12 tracks on this, LTA’s sophmore effort which follows 2008’s not-that-good-oh-and-it-sounds-just-like-Gallows effort, Bretton.
Fortunately for LTA, things do improve immediately with ‘B.O.R.E.D’, possessing both the urgency which good punk rock requires, and a pleasing melodicism that demonstrates a desire to draw from a broader musical palette than previously. Mike Duce’s rich croon works remarkably well, offering a pop nous which is married to the ‘proper hardcore’ bits with aplomb. The band should be applauded for having the balls to experiment in this department. ‘I’m not Bulimic…’ and ‘Yo Music Scene, What Happened?’ swagger into view with a confidence that brings to mind the now sadly departed Blakfish, albeit with less of an emphasis on outlandish tempo changes but with the requisite conviction and venom in spades.
It is sad to say then that I cannot fully enjoy this record even despite its musical proficiency, because the lyrics really are THAT bad. You can only assume that the band think these are pieces of edgy social commentry for a recession-panicked generation Z – that they are punks’ version of The Streets or something – but they are cringeworthy to the point that they actually overshadow the majority of what is good about this album. Just look at the opening lines for the lead single, ‘Taping Songs off the Radio’:
“I’ve been collecting music for so long
Today I turned on my laptop and it’s all gone,
I opened my iTunes and it’s bare,
I can’t find the albums I downloaded anywhere.”
The WHOLE SONG is about your hard drive being wiped, I wish I was joking but I’m not. It’s terrible.
Watch the video to ‘Taping Songs Off The Radio’ by Lower Than Atlantis
It is rare that I’d so heavily criticise one aspect of a band’s music, but in this instance it genuinely detracts from what is an otherwise solid record with some inventive delivery and carefully-structured songs. Lower Than Atlantis lack nuance, and the result of that is that it makes Far Q a lot less fun.
P.S: If you need anymore evidence that this band have no clue about the boundaries of what is tasteful then check out their demolition of American Football’s ‘Never Meant’ on their free download-only Punk on the Covers EP. Somewhere a Kinsella brother is weeping…
Sounds Like: Blakfish, Trash Talk
Top Tracks: B.O.R.E.D , I’m Not Bullimic…
Lower Than Atlantis – Far Q tracklising:
Taping Songs Off The Radio
I’m Not Bulimic (I Just Wanted To See How Far I Could Stick My Fingers Down My Throat)
Eating Is Cheating
Face Full Of Scars
Down With The Kids
Yo Music Scene, What Happened?
Mike Duce’s Symphony No.11 In D Minor
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