Monday, 30 March 2015

Recommended music: 'Escape From Evil' by Lower Dens

Image: Escape From Evil

The third album from Lower Dens sees them make a shift from the krautrock of the seventies to the bouncy electro-pop of the eighties, all glistening guitars and shimmering synths (the only thing that would make it more 80s would be if you stuffed it full of saxophone solos, but maybe that's a step too far...). Over the top comes Jana Hunter's voice, strong and clear, like Chrissie Hynde crossed with Lana del Rey. It's the sound of her breaking out as a frontwoman, embracing the limelight and saying "this is me and my band, don't hide me on a dark stage any more, light me with a glitterball". Speaking as someone who's seen Lower Dens play live a lot, often on a dark stage, this is a welcome development - although at times I miss the motorik drumbeat (there's just a hint of it in 'Company'), it's nice to hear some sunshine in their sound. 'Electric Current' is not dissimilar to something the Eurythmics might put out, while 'To Die In L.A.' has an air of Robert Plant's 'Johnny and Mary' about it.

At times the records sounds like it's auditioning to be an alternative soundtrack for the movie 'Drive', or even Brett Easton Ellis's book 'The Rules of Attraction', while at others it's just revelling in the in bright sunlight. There's an undoubted slice of Californian cocktail hours in this record (despite the band's Baltimore homeland), and its tales of love and loss seem well suited to the musical atmosphere it generates. I must admit that it's taken me a few listens to get below the surface sheen and start to love this record, but it's definitely worth the effort.

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