Album: Eyeland

Artist: Low Anthem

Label: Washington Square

Release Date: June 17, 2016


The Upshot: Experimental and trippy effort, without actual songs at all, but rather strange soundscapes, complete with distant sampled sounds.


Ostensibly an alt folk combo, Low Anthem has done what few other outfits of their ilk would dare to do, that is, to transition into an experimental ensemble whose latest offerings are flush with ambient noise and all sorts of extraneous effects. They hinted at these tendencies before; their preceding album Oh My God Charlie Darwin was a conceptual piece that detailed the travels and travails of the scientist anthropologist bannered in the title.

Still, that effort doesn’t couldn’t possibly prepare one for the strange sounds and atmospheric indulgence that shift and sputter throughout Eyeland overall. These aren’t actual songs at all, but rather strange soundscapes, complete with distant sampled sounds (footsteps, muffled conversation etc.) that sometimes come to a chaotic conclusion. The few structured pieces run a gamut from something akin to a faint, unobtrusive shimmer (“In Eyeland,” “The Pepsi Moon,” “Behind the Airport Mirror”) to sounds that emerge as furiously skittish shuffles (“Her Little Cosmos,” “In the Early Morning of the Air Hockey Fire”).

The titles add to the ambiguity, especially on a track like “In the Circular Ruins of Euphio,” which is little more than a low sustained hum. Consequently, it’s hard to imagine the circumstance that led Low Anthem to assemble this effort. Was it psychedelic substances or a fascination for Faust? Whatever the case, Eyeland marks a trippy transformation.

DOWNLOAD: “In Eyeland,” “Her Little Cosmos”

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