Lower Dens - Escape From Evil

by Steve Reynolds Rating:6 Release Date:2015-03-30

Lower Dens celebrate in the joyous sounds of 80s synth-pop. In some quarters they are listed as indie-rock, which is most definitely not reflected in my lugholes, if that is worth anything. They treat us to smooth, almost surgically clean and pristine vocals, interlaced with minimal, stripped-back lines of icy-cold synths and economic drum patterns.

This, Escape from Evil, is their third album, following on from their previous two highly acclaimed releases. It isn’t a breakaway from what they have committed to record before but merely consolidates and continues to personify their strengths. 

To a degree, this album follows on from the latest LoneLady release, Hinterland, with its emphasis on dance grooves and catchy rhythmical arrangements. They even boldly try something different on ‘Quo Vadis’ by taking the country canter of My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses but stretching it across a dystopian and dour musical framework. You’d think it wouldn’t work but they deliver it with an air of clever confidence.

Their deep electronica even embraces some brief moments of post-punk guitar on ‘Electric Current’, equipped with a hoppy, bouncy early Depeche Mode keyboard riff. ‘I Am the Earth’ displays another side to Lower Dens, a slower sedate melancholic moment not out of keeping with the later recordings of Talk Talk after they ditched the synth bollocks and made some proper music (see Colour of Spring and Spirit of Eden).

This album reflects the dark side of synth-pop, both musically and lyrically. Jana Hunter’s vocal has a warming delivery which is out of synch with the music when you consider some of the dark subject matter on display here. Perhaps an album of reflection

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