Lowly - Keep Up The Good Work

Lowly – Keep Up The Good Work

They’re a fascinating band, Lowly. On the one hand, there’s a kind of 70s AOR vibe going on, but it’s not a ‘mullets and mawkishness’ thing at all, thankfully, and then on the other hand, an innovative streak that you could feasibly align with Radiohead comes glimmering to the surface.

Seasons‘ is a truly lovely track, not a million miles away from the dazzling trip-hop of Portishead, while the dreamy title track is like a soft, rejuvenating soul massage. Even if the lyrics are somewhat baffling, in a Björk kind of way: “Not a space in the room / Not a space in the womb / With velvet pillows and soft boiled eggs / We build a nest of privilege.”

Feel Someone‘ has a weird, wonky aura about it, a little like Patterson Hood‘s ‘You And Your Crystal Meth‘ on Drive-By Truckers‘ 2008 album Brighter Than Creation’s Dark. An ominous sounding number but one infused with an ethereal beauty at the same time.

You Are Good And I Love You‘ is an unusual feel in that it’s like a modern day artist such as Carly Rae Jepsen, a tad out of place on this record but likeable all the same, but it’s the more pensive numbers that make the most impact, especially those that nod towards Thom Yorke and co. Chief amongst these is the aching yearn of ‘13:21‘, the Danish band delivering a real gut-puncher of a track, whose only lyrics are: “You’re out of me / You’re most certainly no longer taking tide in me / I guess the fact that I mentioned it now would maybe argue with that fret / Your body scaffolding couldn’t stand holding me up against you.”

Many of the compositions here, in a very idiosyncratic Lowly manner, are dreamlike in quality, especially ‘Took A Day Off Feeling Sad‘, the musical equivalent of finding yourself suddenly bathing in a freshwater lake amongst the prettiest cascades of beautiful waterfalls.

My only issue, really, is the excessive use of vocoder on Keep Up The Good Work. Having never been much of a fan of this device, I feel like it would have benefitted greatly if it had been used more sparingly. And ‘Mouth‘, which closes the album, features the kind of ‘ding ding’ sound in the background that you would normally encounter when your anti-virus software pops up with an alert. It’s small margins and all that, but, while Lowly are a consistent source of reliability in terms of quality, it is those admittedly minor criticisms that, for me, prevent Keep Up The Good Work making the leap from an ‘enjoyable’ album to a ‘great one’, despite the fact that some of it is undeniably magnificent.

Keep Up The Good Work is out now on Bella Union.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.