Review Summary: Despite its bloated length and lack of variety in the vocals, 0 provides a refreshingly unique take on alternative rock.
Low Roar admittedly can’t escape being compared to other influential bands that also happen to be some of our most beloved modern day masters. The beautiful arrangements of post rock esque crescendos reminiscent of Sigur Ros are all here and another band that 0
without a doubt brings to mind would be Radiohead. Their sophomore effort features some of the best aspects of Radiohead that includes the unique use of electronics and a vocalist that nearly impersonates Thom Yorke. However, Low Roar’s vocalist sings in an extremely gentle manner and unlike Thom Yorke, manages to sound completely sober when singing. The album also proves to be quite a gorgeous listen with its undeniably polished production and thoughtful lyrics. Granted, 0
gets quite tedious at times with tracks that frequently overstay their welcome, but 0
exists as a welcome addition into the 2014 catalogue and gives the listener a unique take on alternative rock.
Over the course of this undeniably tranquil listen, there exists an underlying ambient texture that paves the way for its technically polished production. “Breathe In” gives the listener a taste of what to expect from 0
with its thoughtfully written lyrics, brilliant acoustic guitar work, gentle vocals and ambient atmosphere providing the beautiful terrain. In fact, there are certain tracks such as “I’ll Keep Coming” and “I’m Leaving” that will leave the listener floored and at a loss for words. “I’ll Keep Coming” possesses the brilliant qualities of Kid A
with its chilling synthesizers, brooding rhythm section and strings that provide an awe inspiring touch to the bleak atmosphere while “I’m Leaving” showcases just how beautiful 0
can be with stunning atmospheric elements and a touching piano melody in the beginning. From the cathartic lyrics of “Dreamer” to the equally lovely conclusion of 0
, it no doubt proves to be recorded exceptionally well and certainly never manages to sound derivative like some of their alternative rock colleagues.
However, despite all of the praise mentioned here, the listener also can’t escape the undeniably overlong nature of the record. Take “Nobody Loves Me like You” for example. Granted, the song happens to be quite a soothing listen, but over the course of its unnecessarily long six minute running time the listener will only manage to get bored and ask something like “Is this song seriously still going"” To top it all off, about half way through the song it gives off the impression that it ends, but then out of nowhere it seemingly starts over again which proves to be seriously unwarranted. Likewise, “Vampire on My Fridge” and “Dreamer” both possess the same elements that includes overlong lengths and the indication that they seriously could have ended after about four minutes.
Another recurring problem that exists on 0
lays in their vocalist, Ryan Karazija, who exists as both a positive to the record and a negative. His overwhelmingly quiet vocals really add to the soothing effect 0
often has on the listener and in the process gives off a refreshing Thom Yorke vibe. In fact, Ryan's vocals are technically flawless most of the time with him really impressing with his fantastic falsetto on “Vampire on My Fridge.” However, he has a tendency to seriously overuse his quiet tone which manages to come off as mundane over the course of the record’s indulgent length. Despite his beautiful delivery, when it’s all said and done the listener will only be craving more variety from his voice.
Despite the album’s bloated length and their singer’s lack of variety, 0
exists as a beautifully recorded atmospheric, alternative rock album with all of the best elements of Radiohead and Sigur Ros. Their clever use of ambient soundscapes, post rock esque build ups and synthesizers really create an interesting listen and it at times manages to floor the listener with its tranquil beauty. If only songs like “Nobody Love Me like you” and “Vampire on My Fridge” were trimmed down a bit and the album’s unnecessary interlude were removed altogether then 0
would make for a less tedious listen. All gripes aside, 0
happens to be well worth a listen for anyone looking to get absorbed into a calming atmosphere and Low Roar’s unique take on alternative rock uses their influences to great effect.