Exposé Online banner

Low Wormwood — Lanzhou Lanzhou
(Tenzenmen 098TZM, 2012, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2013-07-25

Lanzhou Lanzhou Cover artLow Wormwood's full-length debut was the enjoyable (and amusingly titled) We Can't Help Kissing Each Other, and their sophomore album finds them sounding a bit more like a band and less like a singer-songwriter with sidemen. The basic style is the same, folk-rock with some electronic touches, with acoustic guitar being the glue that holds everything together, but several variations of it are presented. The title cut is a full band track with the electric guitar prominent; "A-Bang A-Mang" (doesn't translate as anything as far as I can tell) is a bouncy triplet-feel acoustic tune with trumpets giving it a mariachi mood to go with its "la-la-la" singing; "Gone with the Wind" has an ominous chromatic chord progression that keeps threatening to move to another key but holds off for two full minutes — a brilliant arrangement choice. There's even a bit of what might be called political protest (or at least social commentary) in "The Mute Bird (Dedicated to Those Who Lose Their Homes)," which has a throbbing tom-tom beat and some great guitar work — the solo is positively insane, with the tone twisted by who-knows-what effects. Other tunes present still different stylistic variations — a pseudo-ska beat, a rousing 12/8 anthem, a delicate acoustic meditation — this is not a band that tolerates having two songs that sound alike, though all have enough in common to maintain coherence. With their jangly professionalism and edgy lead guitar, Low Wormwood could easily fit with any number of American indie bands were it not for the language barrier. Don't let that get in your way of enjoying this — it's great stuff.

Filed under: New releases, 2012 releases

Related artist(s): Low Wormwood

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Sigur Rós - Takk – Iceland’s Sigur Rós’ claim to fame appears to be as a European bridge between 70s progressive rock ideas and modern alternative rock. The band has been tabbed by industry magazines such as Mojo...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues