The saddest band in Britain keep you reaching for the tissues whilst churning out just a few bangers with fifth studio effort, ‘Safe in Sound.’
Mike Duce is a fucking moody fucker. I have both interviewed him and seen him perform several times and can confirm that he is equal parts sad, angry and wildly misunderstood. As the frontman of prolific quartet Lower Than Atlantis, he’s been able to channel these feelings into an artistic expression on more than one occasion. In fact, at times it is the very essence of LTA’s sound. Whether he’s named a record FarQ, which is basically the best way to name a song using an expletive without using said expletive, or confessing that “being me” was his greatest “mistake” in Another Sad Song.
It’s not cheery but, let’s be honest, it seems to be working. This brand of narcissistic self-loathing has carried LTA this far and, with the enormous success of 2014’s self-titled effort, the boys are intent on following down the same path with Safe In Sound.
“I hate everyone I meet” is the line that opens lead single Had Enough. No truer words have ever been said in the history of music, with the obvious exception of Bob Marley’s claim that he loves ‘Jammin’. (Of course you fucking do Bob we’ve heard your stuff- it’s mint) Despite this brazenly truthful admission, Had Enough is up there with one of the best songs this four-piece have ever produced. The jaunty, grungy edge that they perfected on their last album has been captured and enhanced ten-fold here. The booming riffs are complimented with a thundering chorus that is as bold as it is catchy, making Had Enough a great monument to LTA’s sound.
Whilst Had Enough oozes musical goodness, tracks Money and Boomerang build upon the more synth orientated exploration of their material; swapping crunching guitars for harmonies and dream-like soundscapes. Whilst the quartet’s desire to expand their sound is always refreshing in such a scene, both tracks fail to make much of an impact; luckily, they don’t have to.
Single Work For It is as raucous in its quality as Boomerang is average. A catchy, soaring pop ballad carved from the very heart of Punk, it’s loud, it’s heavy and it’ll get stuck in your head for the next century. It somehow manages to be raw and gritty whilst having that slick edge that instantly sucks you into the chorus of the song, you just can’t stop singing it. You physically can’t. Never ones to stay upbeat, I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore is another LTA song that makes you want to run a hot bath and take a knife in with you. That’s not, however, to say it isn’t beautiful, dark and epic in all proportions. Bolstered by the sharp tones of violins and strings, it is a song that ultimately showcases this band’s astounding musicianship.
Whilst the sheer quality of just a few tracks on this album, promise to propel LTA onto the next rung of the scene’s ladder, the rest of the record is wildly experimental at best and average at worst. The pick of the bunch is A Night To Forget. Poppy to the max, full of simple licks and the kind of lyrics that get twelve-year-old girls interested, it’s not a song that many hard-core fans will like but it’s damn catchy and threatens to reveal the light-hearted alter ego LTA love to lock away. However, it seems that, creatively, that’s not where their best material is likely to emerge from. Staying miserable seems to be working and the best material on this album is, unsurprisingly, angry, sad or wildly misunderstood. So for now boys, stick with that moody fucker of a frontman and keep to his moody fucking attitude.
The Lowdown: Sad, beautiful, grungy music, like Morrissey if he joined Nirvana.
Top Track’s: Had Enough, Work For It, A Night To Forget.
For Fans Of: Deaf Havana, Moose Blood, Don Broco.