Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Low Roar "0" (2014)

Low Roar's second full length album, simply titled "0" has gained significant exposure this year from its use in media advertisements. On first listen I was convinced this was a Sigur Ros side project, brainchild of singer Ryan Karazija his voice is remarkably similar Jon Birgisson and both groups are from Iceland. It could be the accent, but Ryan's high notes are uncanny in tone and delivery. Both being from such a small country, in terms of population, there is probably no one who hasn't heard of Sigur Ros's international success and their influence seems to be everywhere on this record.

Zero is a personal, searching record, heartfelt and exposed you can hear an artist trying to work it out through the music. Its sedative and mournful within a state of melancholy that can be all too much on a couple of songs. Of the many months Ive listened to it Ive wrestled with its mood, often not keen on walking the same path. Its depressive state is hidden with words among soft serine music that will change the tone of your day. Its hard to love but in its own way its a truly great piece of music that cuts like a knife.

With no particular formula, a range of instruments take to the music with mainly quite percussive lines, sometimes glitched and electronic. Between them acoustic guitars strum chords, sometimes with deep reverbs adding an ethereal touch. The string sections are most prominent, soft and strung with care they line most the tracks with the somber mood. It all revolves around Ryan's voice, with fluidity, the soft music masks its structure, accompanying and complimenting the softly sung vocalist.

Of its seventy eight minutes some moments do linger. When Ryan goes quiet, so does the music and the first half feels like it takes the share of emotionally impacting songs. In its prime it is engrossing, moving and tear jerking, however when missing the mark it does drift from ones focus and that's where the latter half lets it down. In its best it challenges the listener with a deep sadness, that to easily drifts away as the album progresses and rarely does the music get to step in front of the vocal narrative. Its an interesting record but for all its brilliance one that doesn't command much of me.

Favorite Tracks: Nobody Loves Me Like You, Half Asleep, I'm Leaving, Phantoms, Vampire On My Fridge
Rating: 5/10

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