Lower Dens: Escape from Evil (Ribbon) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, July 3rd, 2020  

Lower Dens

Escape from Evil

Ribbon

Apr 01, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


On their new album Escape from Evil, it appears as if the Baltimore-based quartet Lower Dens have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. After two earlier records that explored the most toxic and decaying parts of modern humanity through stark, sharp, Teutonically precise indie rock as black, grey, and white as their accompanying album covers, Escape from Evil feels and sounds warmer and more expansive. Songs are less beholden to the tight matrices of melody created by the group's expertly calibrated rhythm section, and less oppressed by the murky atmosphere of cloudy, menacing psychedelic rock.

The group still deploys churning, driving melodies, but now their pristine guitar work and calculated synth flourishes are much looser, more dynamic, and, in some instances, more volatile, capable of firing off into space like blinding solar flares.

Of course, lead singer/songwriter Jana Hunter's full, throaty howl is as strong as ever, but now her lyrics are surprisingly pregnant with cautious hope. When she admits on the dazzlingly Less Than Zero-ish first single "To Die in L.A." "But here, I'm not crying, I'm just glad to be alive...time will turn the tide" right as the song explodes into a swell of strings, keyboards, and firework guitars, it's cathartic and resilient in ways Lower Dens have never been before.

Granted, there are still moments when Hunter and co. slow down to a Syd Barrett crawl, mired in the psychic weight of existence, like on the haunting "I Am the Earth," but even then, Hunter ends the song with a long, desperate request to "hold onto the ones you love." In the end, Escape From Evil is the most direct, and accessible album Lower Dens have yet made, augmenting their more experimental, Krautrock predilections with the buoyancy of brighter melodies while crafting nuanced, humanist pleas for compassion. (www.lowerdens.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10



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