Low Roar
ross.


4.5
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
November 9th, 2019 | 66 replies


Release Date: 11/08/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Prepare to have your breath taken away - again.

ross. floats by swiftly and delicately. The atmosphere conjures all scenic imagery – beginning with the tranquil mooring cove on the cover and ending with ‘Empty House’s triumphant horns blaring as the album is whisked away into the sunset. Shimmering acoustics and indie-folk influences now preside over their less conspicuous post-rock counterparts. Compared to previous efforts, particularly the monumental sixty-eight-minute 0, Low Roar’s latest clocks in at a rather trim forty-two minutes. In general, everything about ross. feels a little more sleek and tidy. It’s the most conventional album we’ve heard by Low Roar’s standards, which is neither a criticism nor a compliment; it’s just different. Whereas 0 was likely to draw comparisons to Sigur Ros and Radiohead, ross. comes closer to intersecting with Fleet Foxes or Destroyer. That isn’t to say that there aren’t still some post-rock inspired pinnacles; the tide has merely shifted away from elaborate, far-reaching soundscapes and settled into a valley of dreamy, lush folk. ross., for being comparatively scaled back, is easily the richest sounding piece that Low Roar has ever crafted.

There’s an overarching crystalline elegance that polishes the record in a stunning glaze – each song acting as a still-frame extracted from a larger moment. Slow builds to brass/orchestral breakthroughs color these tracks with shades of Kaputt (the regal trumpets across the back halves of 'H.A.F.H.' and 'Slow Down' are particularly compelling), while the predominant acoustics and vocal-centric melodies of tunes such as 'Not Around' or 'Feel Like Dying' lend the album a slight air of Helplessness Blues. Some of the more surprising moments come when ross. expands upon the electronic elements that 2017’s Once in a Long, Long While started to explore. 'I'll Make You Feel' is the first of such instances, swelling with optimism atop flourishing synths and classical pianos that continually rise in intensity until they're intertwined within a beautiful wall of sound that includes subtle electronic flickers and distantly exploding fireworks. It's the kind of moment you might get down on one knee to. ‘The Machine’ is the other big electronic moment here, and, despite being rather depressing (the refrain is "we don't stand a chance") it's arguably even better – featuring an eerie robotic voice and aqueous-sounding keyboard synths to form one of the most stunning outros in the band’s entire catalog. It's safe to say that despite the tonal shift towards pastoral folk (think 'In The Morning' from 2014's 0), Low Roar are at their peak when they fuse that style with creative electronic atmospheres and lively brass horns - and fortunately, these are all things that we hear plenty of throughout ross.

If there’s an outlier among the bunch it is the penultimate ‘Blue Eyes’, which is a quaint, hushed, and dizzying two minute ballad that combines fuzzy synths and fluttering strings with a tale of sweeping, transient romance: Baby quit looking at me with those God damn blue eyes...I'll see you in the next. It’s more than an interlude but not quite a full-blown song; whatever it is, it’s hauntingly beautiful. The record then concludes in grandiose fashion, culminating in an orchestral explosion halfway through 'Empty House' - a moment unpredictable enough to make you look back and question what kind of album ross. even is. Sure, it deftly weaves between indie-folk, electronics, and baroque jazz on a song-by-song basis, but it's almost still post-rock on a macro scale - commencing with the hushed acoustics of 'Darkest Hour' and eventually resolving itself in the crescendo of its opposite bookend. ross.'s curtain-call adds a flair of creativity during the album's waning moments, while offering food for thought and a reason to start the whole experience over again from the beginning.

Low Roar is a group that has evolved over the course of each release, whether it’s the humble, cozy folk of the self-titled debut, the more expansive post-rock leanings of 0, or the electronic infusion that occurred on Once in a Long, Long While. ross. sees them roll all these influences together, while also taking a turn towards accessible track lengths and gleaming indie-folk atmospheres (albeit with no shortage of beautiful accents and jaw-dropping aesthetics). It will make you want to sail the ocean at sunset, go stargazing from a city rooftop, or embark upon a long walk on a foggy morning. Low Roar has always maintained those very natural, earthy undercurrents in their music, and it’s a motif that continues in plenty on their fourth full-length endeavor. If Low Roar is a product of life’s most beautiful moments, then each album they've created is a series of snapshots taken along the way. With ross., prepare to have your breath taken away - again.



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user ratings (56)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
November 9th 2019


32890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wasn't really happy with how my review turned out the first time so I reworked it to better express how much I appreciate this album. It's definitely a thing of beauty, probably my 2nd favorite Low Roar behind only 0. Feedback welcome!

Digging: Abigail Williams - Walk Beyond The Dark

Gyromania
November 9th 2019


29140 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Had no idea this was coming out and I'm so fucking happy to hear this. 0 is a serious decade contender for me

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 9th 2019


32890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

These guys are the best blend of warm, acoustic folk and experimentation. It's like my own version of Fleet Foxes meets Sigur Ros, which just makes me melt inside. Probably one of my favorite bands currently still making music, and definitely one of the least known.

Gyromania
November 9th 2019


29140 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I haven't heard their other albums either, should get on that. Still play 0 at least once a month, and for anyone who cares to listen. Sigur Ros meets Fleet Foxes is a perfect descriptor for these guys. Hoping I find something here I connect with as deeply as Vampire, Phantoms, and Breathe In

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2019


42899 Comments


has it really been 5 years since 0? that's fucked man

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 9th 2019


32890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed. I still remember clicking play on it at my computer in my old apartment, literally saying holy fuck out loud at the end of it, and then opening up a notepad doc to immediately start writing. I think I wrote that review after two listens I was so ridiculously excited to get the word out.

Gallantin
November 9th 2019


841 Comments


is this thr desth steanding bsnd

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2019


42899 Comments


but why does ross, as the largest friend, not simply eat the other five?

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 9th 2019


32890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Double album confirmed: rachel. due out November 2024. Would have been sooner but they're going on a break.

budgie
November 9th 2019


15516 Comments


is this bedroom pop

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 9th 2019


32890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nah it's very well produced, like I said think Sigur Ros goes full indie-folk.

budgie
November 9th 2019


15516 Comments


when did you say that?

Gyromania
November 9th 2019


29140 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In a comment

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 9th 2019


32890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Am I the only one getting some serious Kaputt vibes from the instrumentation? Or am I just delusional? (the latter is a perfectly likely possibility)

BenThatsMyJamin
November 9th 2019


2698 Comments


Currently on the first jam, HAFH grabbed me straight away

nightbringer
November 9th 2019


927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Interested, placeholder rate to remind me to check it.

MiloRuggles
November 9th 2019


200 Comments


0 is one of the most well-produced albums of the past decade from a purely creative standpoint as far as I'm concerned, especially when you consider how basic the songs sound as solely guitar/vocal pieces.

Super excited to hear this despite being a bit disappointed in their last one

anatelier
November 9th 2019


2954 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Love the first two albums but was ambivalent to the last. Hoping this rekindles the love

dmathias52
November 10th 2019


1084 Comments


Been meaning to give 0 a listen for a while now. I guess jamming it in order to listen to this one will be my motivation! This review has me endlessly hyped

Ashtiel
November 10th 2019


840 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the back half of this is downright haunting at times, front half will need more time but "222" or "The Machine" are my overall favorites for now. solid effort

Digging: Fews - Into Red



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