Review Summary: Leaving this Earth's such a beautiful sound
Ever since Low Roar dropped 0
- which was just objectively perfect art - it's been a constant series of comparisons. Everything they've done since then has been immaculately produced, jaw-droppingly beautiful, and spine-tinglingly emotional, with their only true faults basically being that they weren't 0
. As they've shapeshifted between electronic music, folk, and post-rock, they've retained what makes them special each step of the way. Whatever genre Low Roar adopts is just a fleshy exterior covering a superior musical genetic makeup, and I'm tired of pretending that it even matters what specific style they happen to be employing. The simple fact of the matter is that Low Roar don't know how to be imperfect; they just head into the studio and breathe out universal truths through soul-shattering ruminations and life-affirming celebrations. Every single time, it's a fucking gut punch.
is no different. This thing glides in on the shimmering keys, cascading chimes, and magisterial horns of 'David', which is somehow devastating in spite of its absurd instrumental beauty as lead vocalist/confirmed genius Ryan Karazijah croons about meeting with old friends and kissing loved ones goodbye for the last time. The electronically altered effects placed upon his voice as the song swells to its most affecting pinnacle gives the whole experience an aura of buoyancy, as if the message is being sung through a wormhole in the ocean, from a future Karazijah. That's just five minutes into hour long excursion, and it's already one of the best moments by any artist in 2021. And this thing gets much, much better.
Like 'Fucked Up', which is basically a nine minute ode to getting plastered while watching America burn from afar; a full-stop separating spaced-out, ambient laments from an electronically-buzzing, synth-swirling, horn-blasting, falsetto-harmonizing tidal wave of gorgeous chaos. 'Hummingbird''s soul-cleansing crescendo is really just a ten second group chant that sounds unified in utter triumph only because so much of maybe tomorrow...
stews in brooding isolation. But that's what Low Roar does - they plunge to the blackest depths, slowly build back towards the surface, and then blast off skyward whilst shimmering in the sunlight. Lead single 'Everything to Lose' is a goddamn breathtaking exercise in wistful ambient pop, sending synth keys looping around Karazijah's lines of "What if the sky falls in a fiery blend? Tell me how this will end" while crystalline pianos rain from the ceiling and two minutes of brilliantly clashing horns whisk the song away into the sunset.
The two best moments on the entire record are saved for last, as 'Captain' and 'Bye Bye' prove that Low Roar could indeed top 0
at some point in the not-so-distant future. 'Captain' is akin to guiding a ship through choppy, volatile waters; it's at times as smooth and serene as those pure-at-heart pianos, but a screeching wind whispers from afar (both literally and figuratively) while noticeable shifts in Ryan's inflections seem to signify that things are not really okay metaphorically, emotionally, and/or on all other planes of existence and alternate dimensions that Low Roar occupies. Karazijah really isn't okay
either throughout most of maybe tomorrow...
- take it from someone who has heard all of his records and has been promoting his work since long
before Death Stranding. This thing has its moments of reconciliation and transient optimism, but it's overarchingly melancholic and mostly depressing as hell, with themes of death and other forms of agonizing loss dominating Ryan's headspace. I bring all this up not only because it's such a stark contrast from the meek folk wanderings of ross.
, but also because 'Captain' is such a perfect microcosm of this record: calm on the surface, but with turbulent undercurrents and a blackened horizon.
Then there's 'Bye Bye' and 'Clareland', which for all intents and purposes operate as a single ten-and-a-half minute curtain call, and it's a closing sequence which cements maybe tomorrow...
as another nearly flawless entry into Low Roar's canon. Karazijah once again casually breaks our heart with confessions like "Dave, I'm so happy, but I'll never let it show" and "If you love me, David, please just let me go / You meant more to me than anyone will know" to a serenade of choral chants that stretch towards the heavens. At one point he even sings "With a universe so blue it never ends" before 'Bye Bye' fades into the breeze-blown chimes of 'Clareland', and those same chimes that usher maybe tomorrow...
to its conclusion are the ones that we hear at the beginning of the album's opening track, titled - you guessed it, 'David.' Fuck
, man. Low Roar have done something here that goes beyond merely crafting music that's both aesthetically alluring and impressive in scope - they've fashioned their own cyclical universe; this spinning sphere of blue so beautiful and actively fucked that you might even call it Earth.
I'm so ridiculously taken by maybe tomorrow...
, which really shouldn't be surprising because Low Roar is one of the best and most important musical acts alive. I'm over feeling a sense of duty to remain measured and grounded with Karazijah's works, because nothing about his music is even remotely ordinary. It deserves to be praised with the same fervor that his art achieves. I could write a dissertation on every single track here, which is evidenced by the above paragraphs, but I also believe that his work merits an analysis even deeper than what I'm willing or able to provide. In terms of placement within Low Roar's catalog, the sheer majesty of these stunning and mystical arrangements means it resides near the project's upper echelon of releases (no, it's not quite on par with 0
) - but as I've also already expressed, when you're writing music on this level, splitting hairs between the nearly perfect and the actually perfect seems like a foolish endeavor. The real failure would be not diving into Low Roar's music at all, or not fully investing yourself with a dedicated listen on a good set of headphones. The music is so pure, moving, and intricate that you can't afford to continue ignoring it: so don't.