ALBUM REVIEW: Lower Than Atlantis – Lower Than Atlantis (The Black Edition)
For Watford quartet Lower Than Atlantis their 2014 self-titled propelled them to the forefront of the British rock scene. Following on from this success a re-packaged version entitled Lower Than Atlantis – The Black Edition has been released rammed with the original album alongside new material, alternative versions and some very interesting covers. It’s usually a hit and miss game with re-releases but with 27 tracks we couldn’t really say no to giving it a listen.
Disc one features the original album, which we reviewed upon its release and you can read here. Showing off their story telling ability through Emily and English Kids in America, to the electronic vibes of Ain’t No Friend which’ll have you tapping along in no time. The release highlights the maturity developed by the quartet, moving away from cliché lyrics to sincere experiences including their first major label experience in Criminal. Damn Nation won the award for the fieriest chorus whilst Stays The Same had us reaching for our tissues. We had nothing but love for the original release and had our fingers crossed we’d say the same for the re-issue.
At the start of the second disc, latest single Get Over It can be found. Flaunting the typical gritty sound from the quartet it feels a little too similar to previous tracks on the release until the chorus is unleashed. Packing a punch, with heavy guitar lines and a shout worthy refrain of “Let go, let go honey” has us just wanting to head to a show and sing along.
The Reason and I’m Partying bring the pop-rock with the edge of punk to the release. It’s a refreshing change to see the quartet breaking out of their genre barriers with Mike Duce’s vocals retaining their distinctive sound.
From a track about a dog (Emily is based on Duce’s dog Rosie but her name didn’t sound right in the song) to Sewer Side. Opening with the line “flushed away like human waste” we can’t lie it’s a bit weird and uncomfortable to listen to at times…
Next up is a double dose of the bands BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge covers. Clean Bandit/Jess Glynne’s Real Love is first up and stripped back to the raw basics. There’s a strong dance vibe entwined within the deep bass lines and we absolutely love it! Am I Wrong first made famous by Nico & Vinz has graced a handful of LTA acoustic shows setlists. Packing more of a punch than the first cover, the delicate guitar work, deep emotive vocals and the addition of female vocals add a new dimension to the release.
Keeping up the cover section of the release comes with four completely new ones chosen by each of the guys. We can’t help but hear ‘guilty pleasures’ screaming in the back of our mind… First up is Duce’s choice of Robbie William’s Strong; a sentence we never expected to be saying… LTA covering Robbie. Bringing a fresh touch to the track with their signature guitar sounds to the extent it really feels as if this is a track written by the band themselves. Taking a step in a different direction comes with Incubus’ Wish You Were Here as chosen by Dec Hart. The issue comes here with it feeling too safe, with a lack of LTA touch being added to give a unique spark to the track. But credit must be given for drummer Eddy Thrower carrying the track with a foot tappingly good drumline.
Ben Sansom’s choice of Tears For Fears, Everybody Wants To Rule The World brings the groove to the release. Duce’s vocals suit the track perfectly making this an even more captivating listen. It’s refreshing to see a band turn a track into their own with small touches, well done LTA this is covers done right. Finally comes Thrower’s choice of the absolute classic of Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles. Arguably being one of the most covered songs of all time and still one of the best. We have absolutely all the time in the world for the quartets rocked up cover of it. Featuring the twinkly piano keys we all love with heavy, pungent guitar lines and Duce’s emotive, fiery vocals. Hearing such an iconic track sung from a male point of view makes a well loved change, whilst staying close to the original but bringing the rock.
Rounding off the release is alternative versions of four of the fans favourite tracks from the original release. Here We Go, English Kids In America, Words Don’t Come So Easily and Ain’t No Friend go bare to their bare bones. Each of these tracks are perfectly suited to acoustic guitars and piano backing but there’s truly something magical about English Kids In America alternative style. Concluding the release is Ain’t No Friend one of our favourite tracks from the original release, which when stripped back oozes in vulnerability and emotion.
Up until now we weren’t huge fans of re-releases but Lower Than Atlantis have successfully changed our minds. With a disc full of new or reworked material it’s highlighting just how versatile the quartets sound is and the risk they’re willing to take. Lower Than Atlantis have cemented themselves as one of the best rock outfits on the British scene and the future is going to be something very special.
Standout Tracks: A Thousand Miles, Ain’t No Friend (Alt), Strong
For Fans Of: Young Guns, Mallory Knox, You Me At Six
Written By: Nicola Craig