Scene and Heard- CCXXVIII: Powerlines – Lowest of The Low (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

d5095b4b2e404cdecc4bc8eb4f016336ad3914b6It has been a long time since the last album from Lowest of The Low, did Sordid Fiction really come out in 2004, it would seem so. But for any band coming back with an album which kicks off with a song as great as Powerlines, you can easily make an argument that it has been worth the wait.

Set to a vibrant video, this lead single is the perfect blend of rock muscle and pop sensibilities, drive and melody and though it walks a line back through a fairly mainstream rock back catalogue it is also tempered with some clever post-punk, alt-pop grit. So whilst it is at times reminiscent of college rock radio and a more stadium rock ethic, it bristles with integrity and an effortless alt-rock cool. Not the alt-rock of those earnest and holier than though bands trying to re-invent that particular musical wheel, via the medium of skinny jeans and overly complicated hair but an alt-rock that understands that the wheel is sufficient for the job but it just needs some fancy rims and a bit of polish.

Powerlines is a great example of the “if it aint broke…” attitude, you can see exactly where it is coming from and what it is setting out to do, but the fact that it does it so effectively, so addictively, so brilliantly is what counts. Where pop and rock merge there is often a compromise at work, the pop element sometimes reducing the power of the rock delivery, the rock element arriving with too much cliched baggage. Lowest of the Low, however, turn this balancing act to their advantage and where many would end up in a musical no-mans land they instead become masters of all they survey. It hums with rock drive, sparks with pop energy and sizzles with indie cool and it is this ability to appeal to such a wide market which will put them in the ideal position.

Pop has become a dirty word of late, but there was a time when songs like this would revel in the label of power-pop, maybe Lowest of The Low can be the band that starts reclaiming the genre from the dance routined, lip synching, production line artists who now represent it. Even if they don’t, its still a great song in its own right and it is great to have them back. Maybe just don’t leave it so long next time!

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About Dave Franklin

Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.
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