This album feels like something of a crossroad for the Lower Than Atlantis boys. After capturing our attention with Far Q and our hearts with World Record, major label debut Changing Tune felt like it had all of the sonic brilliance that money can buy but with none of the grit and soul of what made LTA such a great band in the first place. While it’s far too early to call this a ‘do or die’ album, there’s still a question over the band’s ability to cut it at the top tier of British rock music.
Lead single Here We Go has already become the band’s most successful track ever but that stomp and crunch isn’t really representative of the overall sound of the album. The cheeky chappy, Stella and fags feel of English Kids In America, the cider-soaked punk of Time and the overtly poppy but undeniably massive Emily recall the glory days of the past but there’s a hell of a lot of invention going on here with mostly positive results.
Mike Duce’s personality is all over everything on the record because of his distinctive vocals but Ain’t No Friend throws us in at the deep end early. A dance-flavoured, pop floor filler, its beefy, chugging guitars disguise a song that could sound like anything in the Top 40 or a dodgy café in Magaluf. Criminal is the sound of LTA being decorated with flamboyant strings and sweeping orchestral movements, Stays The Same has the same tub-thumping feel that has seen fun. rise to popularity in the States and Damn Nation sounds like it’s taken from a WWE Pay Per View (one of the better ones, just to clarify). Words Don’t Come So Easily is part acoustic ballad, part funk rock stadium filler and that description is not stretching the truth whatsoever. The vast majority of these wildly different experiments hit the bullseye but it can’t help but feel a little schizophrenic as a body of work. If you’ve got a broad musical palate, you’ve got way more chance of getting along with this album than if you like your rock in a more traditional format.
Lower Than Atlantis is a brazen album that ventures into the wacky and unconventional but when the choruses on display are this strong and consistently excellent, it can’t help but feel like a victory and one of the year’s most bold and brilliant albums.
Lower Than Atlantis is released via Sony on October 6.