Low Wormwood — Lanzhou Lanzhou
(Tenzenmen 098TZM, 2012, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-07-25Low 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.
Related artist(s): Low Wormwood
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more