Review Summary: World Record is the sound of a young band on the verge of something brilliant. With a little more time between albums this could have been perfect
Over their four year existence, Hertfordshire’s, almost/not really hardcore quartet, Lower Than Atlantis have grown to an amazing level of popularity. Their 2010 album Far Q was a critic’s favourite and earned them the title of Britain’s “bright young hope” for punk music. One year later and the band, featuring Declan Hart on bass, Eddy Thrower on drums, Ben Samson on guitar and, of course, the distinct vocals of Mike Duce, also on guitar, are back and ready to take on the world with 12 face blistering hardcore songs. Or not. An album to win the mainstream, and lose the hardcore, World Record, teams memorable hooks with mid-paced alt rock, and seems to plant the band firmly on the road to establishing themselves as a meatier answer for those tired of Kids In Glass Houses.
Starting with “(Motor) Way Of Life”, a song about touring and general rebellion, and one of the highlights of the albums for me. A perfect start, the song races out of the tracks and leaves the listener with a smile on their face. The first thing I noticed was how much Mike’s voice has improved, his vocals being one of the standout features of the record.
Next “Beech Like The Tree”, the first single off the album, is a short, catchy, song. Likeable vocals and quirky guitars make the song memorable. “High At Five” is another standout track. The first song on the album which confronts real personal matters, this song is truly a song for the recession generation. Perfectly capturing the feeling of many young people today, it’s a great song, and starts the slowly darkening lyrics of the album. I found the next track, “Uni 9mm” to be the first song that falls below the standard set by the opening tracks. Not particularly bad, but boring and forgettable, it seems a lot longer than 3:19, nice lyrics but they’re wasted on this song.
“Another Sad Song” does what it says on the tin. An emotive song that reminds me of some of the emo bands of the 90‘s. A great song that achieves with ease what many of the modern ‘emo” bands would cut of their fringes to create. It maintains a slow pace without getting boring. The song builds up to a perfect crescendo. Let me repeat this, perfect. I dare you to sit alone and listen to it without getting a little emotional.
“Marilyn’s Mansion” is only one minute along and is a fun song about childhood. A bit too short, but spiky. “Deadliest Catch” is my favourite track on the album. The second single off the album, it’s a sea themed take on heartbreak. With a hook catchier (geddit!) than any Top 40 song, in an ideal world this would have topped the charts for weeks. Fantastic lyrics and a great chorus, it’s a song that proves how great this band can be.
“Bug” is fast, short, and possibly the most hardcore track off the record, complete with great gang shouting. “Up In Smoke” sounds like a continuation of the previous track. While it’s a decent track, it left me wondering why they didn’t just make “Bug” a little longer. “Could You? Would You?” is ultimately forgettable and the only place on the album where the lyrics could be considered as poor. A couple of almost laughable rhyming couplets left me unable to take the song seriously.
I’m yet to decide if the title “Working For The Man By Day, Sticking It To The Man By Night” is absolute genius or absolute cheese. With a nice sentiment and brilliant lyrics, this song would be the highlight of many other young band’s albums, but doesn’t particularly stand out against earlier tracks. The final track “R.O.I” is a strange choice for a closer to an album. Neither fast nor slow, it doesn’t showcase the song writing strength of the band and doesn’t leave much of an impression. The song is incredibly vague, and left me unsure as to the reason behind this song about Ireland.