In a world seemingly full of calculated choruses and faux punk angst, it's been fairly easy to overlook Lower Than Atlantis. Swept along in the British invasion wave that made bigger stars out of You Me At Six, Kids In Glass Houses and Twin Atlantic, there's never been anything wrong with the Watford' quartets chipper radio rock, but something was failing to ignite.
Having signed up to Sony records for the release of their self titled record, it quickly becomes apparent that the band have gone for the slow burn rather than the media inferno. It would have been easy to make a record bemoaning their peers, but instead, this is an album that fizzes with determination, sounding like they're having more fun that ever before.
Opening with the well radio-rotated 'Here We Go', it's clear they mean business. A chugging riff that would make 'Puzzle' era Biffy Clyro happy, it's their strongest track to date, epic strings just low enough in the mix to recall some sort of heavy take on a James Bond theme. The cinematics are upped even further for 'Criminal', which lets Mike Deuce's vocals shine as the bands strongest asset. When he sings about the perils of selling out and how he's 'taken shit before', you can really believe how much trash-talking must go down in the alternative scene. Whilst the message could be considered a cliche, his delivery definitely isn't.
English kids in America wins points for being featured on MICNYC with an American eagle of a chorus that will see them taken even more firmly into the hearts of the tumblr generation. It's stateside inspiration nestles nicely alongside 'Emily', an infectiously bouncy track that would have fit comfortably onto any American Pie OST, summarising the woes of a million teenage boys with the line ‘it sucks that you’re cool and I’m not.’
If power rock isn't your thing, 'Lower Than Atlantis's latter half may be of more interest. 'Word's Don't Come So Easily' is a touching acoustic ballad that quickly turns into a suprisingly thumping chorus, whilst 'Just What You Need' is really interesting – changing pace all over the place until it becomes nearly genreless, almost RnB like in it’s sexy come-ons .‘If you want love let's make some’? Ooer.
If 'Lower Than Atlantis' does have a downside, it is perhaps that, at times, the record is a little one-dimensional. Although there are moments where they flirt with other genres and some tracks are truly standout, each song does tend to feel more like a race to the chorus line rather than anything you might truly take to your heart. However, their songwriting has improved beyond recognition, boding well for their future. Fancy a set of lyrics for a new tattoo? You might be better off looking elsewhere. But fancy packing all your best mates in a car and heading off an a super fun road trip? You best get downloading.