A horrible hack

Low Culture


Year Released: 2013
Format: LP
Label: Dirtnap
Reviewed by Toby on Feb 26, 2013
Ok, for those of you busy people whose time is money with places to be and people to see here is the shortened review:

"Low Culture have members of The Marked Men and Shang-a-Lang and they are better than both of those bands".

Now for those of you reading this on the toilet or on your work computer whilst the boss thinks you're reformatting some spreadsheets or whatever the hell it is that you do, then please let me expand...

Low Culture do indeed contain members of the aforementioned incredible garage/pop-punk bands The Marked Men and Shang-a-Lang and believe me it is meant as no insult to either of those bands when I say that I think 'Screens' is superior to anything that either of those bands has recorded. People who know me might suggest that I am prone to the odd bit of hyperbole when it comes to singing the praises of bands that are new to me (hey did that sentence rhyme?) but please don't let this review fall foul of the boy who cried wolf (that's an old folk tale not a 90's emo band by the way) as you would be depriving your ears of some grade a tuneage.

The Marked Men aren't a terrible starting point for drawing comparisons but whereas The Marked Men were 100% pedal to the floor no frills 'blink and you'll miss it' garage-punk there is a lot more going on here. For a start the pace here is a lot more mid paced, sure there are some songs that start with some raging screams and riffs but even these songs tend to have a melodic break down at some point and for the most part there is a real focus on being able to hear the vocal melodies and lyrics on the album which is where they really pull out the aces for me; now don't get me wrong - the music on this album is second to none, veering from poppy 60's influenced garage rock to 80's Wipers/Husker Du punk but the vocals - oh man! There's a fragility and urgency to them that can only be compared to Paul Westerberg at The Replacements' finest, its the sound of a voice permanently about to either crack or break into tears and just like The Replacements the lyrics this voice sings are able to put across deep, soulful, back-story filed sentiments with a simple turn of phrase. It also doesn't hurt that the singer can stretch the odd note with a rather wonderful 'uhh-ohhhh' that'll make your toes tap in the way that only The Ramones or Mean Jeans could have done before.

So yes...to summarise my inane ramblings, I REALLY like this album and haven't been as excited about seeing a band live since Green Day in 1995 (though I might refrain from spraying my hair red this time...) Two thumbs up!

Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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