Smart Flesh is The Low Anthem’s much anticipated new album release and our Album of the Week. Ever since they took up occupancy in an old dis-used pasta sauce factory to record this album the anticipation has grown with every mention, video or photograph thay have released. The lead up to this album has therefore been a journey of sorts, one that will not disappoint.
Ghost Woman Blues kicks off The Low Anthem’s latest release and you can hear the acoustics courtesy of the pasta sauce factory where they’ve been holed up recording Smart Flesh, a title I’m sure arose from their heavily steeped scientific and philosphical minds. The slight echo of the building works perfectly, conjuring late night candle lit recordings thanks to the images they have been sending fans since its concept and their residency in the dis-used industrial space.
The album has their trademark sounds and a few excurions outside the enevelope. Apothecary Love is country balladship of the whiskey soaked variety whilst Boeing 737 hits the reverb in grand style. The balance of new and comfort zones for those that know their work is well balanced throughout the album. Matter of Time issues forth the music I have grown to love them for, music for the quiet generation, music where subtle quiet instrumentation builds songs to such high emotional levels that you close your eyes for complete immersion.
Jocie Adams get’s her day on Wire. A neo-classical piece that she wrote for three clarinets. I found myself getting very lost in this track. This is all brought back to life very soon on Hey, All you Hippies! an upbeat crescendo of sound not unlike Dylan’s Basement Tapes.
I’ll take out your Ashes is a sparsely played banjo accompanied song. It’s this far into the album when you begin to feel the ghost of the factory. This is no more apparent than on this track when voices drift in and out of a radio at the tail end of the track. It gives an over-riding feeling of peacefulness an experience that many feel when seeing them perform live.
Golden Cattle is classic Low Anthem stuff. Heads down and great connected chorals lifted by Jocie’s clarinet. The title track, Smart Flesh, is the longest track running to over 7 minutes and shows the ability of this band to experiment and explore sound that has given them such a unique sound.
The bonus edition contains three extra tracks which I recommend you opt for if buying the album as they are all new tracks as opposed to re-hashed versions that seems to be the usual course on most bonus albums these days.
There is a peaceful and ghostly feel to this album, maybe the imagery with the knowledge that they have now left this building has left me with this feeling. I’m also slightly saddened that they have exited the doors for one last time from the building they briefly breathed life back into for a short while in its history. Now their ghostly presence will join the others.
It is, without doubt, a great album!
The album will play-out from tomorrow on Folk Radio UK with addtional coverage for the forthcoming week.
Buy Album: Smart Flesh