What the Crow Brings – The Low Anthem
In college, I lived with a number of douchebags. One is an Emmy-award-winning writer. You can see him picketing in front of Graumans Chinese Theater these days. Another, a tiny Philistine, once told me after we listened to Miles Daviss dark masterpiece Live-Evil, when you get older, you will like James Taylor. Well, Darren, Im about to turn 30, and James Taylor still resides firmly in the realm of cheese — cellophane-wrapped, bland American cheese — within my critical perspective. My musical tastes have changed; that much is true. Music no longer needs to toe the line between cacophony and brilliance in order to be intriguing. I am now a fan of simple songs with simple chords and simple lyrics. If you knew the 19-year-old me, you would be surprised to hear I am going to give Low Anthems stark, spare, mesmeric new album, What the Crow Brings, a good review.
But the soon-to-be 30-year-old me cannot resist lines like The moon, it aint nothin but an old rotten bone, or a low register version of The Sunny Side of Life, or the slow and stately trumpet that accompanies the albums opener, The Ballad of Broken Bones. This album is a lullaby for adults. It is an album for those of us who long for the sea to heal our panic-stricken souls. It is an album for those of us who have been yellowed by time. It is an album stripped down and laid bare, without pretension, without indie posturing, without a worry of what the world may think of it. It is an album full of ennui and splendor, candor and innocence, rust and age.
These young men from Providence, Rhode Island, Ben Miller and Jeff Prystowsky, who have yet to turn 25, are not perfect. The use of electric guitar on Yellowed by the Sun is perhaps something that would have been edited out by a producer if they had chosen to employ one. At times the drums plod along, stealing from the celestial quality of their voices. It would be a stretch to call the album a masterpiece as a couple tracks need work. There are a few other kinks that I am sure will be ironed out as the years roll on, but they are not worth mentioning. These young men are two old souls who took the time to record a thing of wonder. While I am just as excited about discovering Tangerine Dream on Pandora.com, and I wouldnt recommend What the Crow Brings for getting pumped up to go out, it is a fine, healing thing no matter how old you are. It came at a good time for me. I hope it does the same for you.