Listen Up: The Low Anthem

It would be easy to describe the Low Anthem’s Oh My God, Charlie Darwin as ambitious. The term, however, doesn’t do it justice. It is one thing to be ambitious (right Axl Rose?) it is quite another to realize musical ambition and make it seem effortless. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Low Anthem.

The mystical “Charlie Darwin” opens the album with falsetto vocals and ethereal harmonies before giving way to “To Ohio”, an acoustic ballad with the gentle uneasiness of a classic Simon and Garfunkel. “Champion Angel” and “Home I’ll Never Be” tremble like the folk counterpoint to the dirty blues of the White Stripes or the Black Keys. The latter track is the album’s lone cover, a raucous take on the Tom Waits and Jack Kerouac penned “Home I’ll Never Be” that would make Waits proud.

Over the course of twelve tracks the Providence, Rhode Island trio move seamlessly from quiet folk to rough-hewn blues. As impressive, they employ 27 different instruments to create the album’s rich and nuanced sound.

“Set the sails I feel the winds a’stirring, toward the bright horizon set the way,” sings guitarist/vocalist Ben Knox Miller on “Charlie Darwin.” It is a line that perfectly encapsulates the band’s well-traveled sound. The Low Anthem is a band that quietly, nay politely, demands to be heard and savored.

Audio Download: The Low Anthem, “Champion Angel”

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[Source: The Low Anthem]

About the author:  Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.

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  • Evan

    Great article. The new album made my top ten list last year, so I’m really hoping this band gets the attention they deserve and more articles like this one.

  • Joe

    As nice as the sound of this band is, don’t be fooled. They claim to have met “in the summer baseball leagues”. These are Brown University graduates with rich parents who have taken on folk as a hipster wears skinny jeans. This is privilege masquerading as authenticity, plain and simple.

  • Jason

    Joe, I totally disagree. So they went to Brown. Big deal. Gram fucking Parsons went to Harvard… And yes, they did meet “in the summer baseball leagues” and together they know more about baseball and the history of American music than you’ll ever know.

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  • Matt Jarrells

    “Songs are hard to fake.”

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