The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh
Rhode Island-based The Low Anthem struck a chord with many critics and fans alike with their debut full length. On February 22nd they return with the new studio effort Smart Flesh.
This time around the band have broken out of their understated folk mode to provide a more varied and complex album.
The highlight is undoubtedly the well-crafted slow country lament "Apothecary Love". It's feeling is enhanced as your jarred out of the mood by the first bursts of rock from the glorious "Boeing 737". We're given one of the strongest instrumentals of the year thus far in the form of the willowy "Wire".
The band channel a pair of Rock And Roll Hall Of Famers. "Burn" has a palpable Leonard Cohen-esque feel to it, while "Hey, All You Hippies" boasts a Bob Dylan influence in both the twangy poetry and the complete indifference to the vocal performance.
After stunningly great music for most of the album, the record ends on a down note. The final three tracks "Golden Cattle", "Smart Flesh", and the banjo lead "I'll Take Out Your Ashes" (as well as the earlier all too tender "Love and Altar") are glacially paced. With little in the way of gripping lyrics, they are simply a dull way to conclude an otherwise strong record.
The end product definitely suffers from the drag of those weak cuts. It's unfortunate, because without those three or four songs Smart Flesh could have been a record of the year contender. As it stands, you have a mini-album's worth of great songs.
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on 2011-06-24 Sonata_Girl Said:
"Apothecary Love" and "Boeing 737" are the best tracks on here. Actually, if the album ended after track 5 we would have a winner. The instrumental "Wire" made my ears itch and the album went down hill from there. Really, really, really disappointing.