Low Anthem – Smart Flesh

January 01, 1970

(Nonesuch)

 

www.nonesuch.com

 

Arriving on the heels of last year’s lavishly praised Oh My God, Charlie Darwin,   Smart Flesh further affirms the Low
Anthem’s stealth-like m.o., a remarkably restrained approach that finds a
compelling case for hushed, hollow-eyed introspection and their often opaque
musings. The band is still relatively untested after only two previous albums,
but their strong showing last time out – specifically, their ability to make a
dramatically emphatic statement in spite of such sparse circumstance — says
much about both their finesse and assurance. Yet, there are indications that
the Low Anthem is drifting into oddly obtuse terrain; opening track “Ghost
Woman Blues,” for example, may be the most nondescript intro ever, given its
mournful wail and spectral terrain. From that point on, few of the tunes rise
above a whisper, with songs like “Love and Altar,” “Matter of Time” and the
title track establishing a sense of solitary despair and persistent
melancholia.

 

Fortunately, Smart Flesh still manages to betray its charms, even in the midst of its ethereal ambiance.
“Boeing 737” actually packs a punch, bringing the Low Anthem their closest
contender to an actual anthem-sized entry, while the rolling folk rock motif of
the aptly-titled “Hey, All You Hippies!” and the traditional-sounding
“Apothecary Love” reaffirm their penchant for genuine folk finesse. Likewise,
the band’s ability to craft such a distinctly dreamy sound can’t help but
ensure a certain allure and fascination. After all, few outfits can carve such
a distinctive sound and sustain it over the course of an entire career, much
less a single outing. So while the snooze factor is always on the verge of
intruding, their seductive sensibilities manage to keep that threat at bay.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Boeing 73,”
“Hey, All You Hippies!” LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

 

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