The Verse’s George Cooper reviews The Low Anthem’s return to Brighton on the 9th November at the Komedia.
In a pitch-black room, a bright yellow spotlight illuminates the figure of Florence Wallis with a typewriter at her fingers. Tap, tap, tap, ding, zzzzzzip. The symphonic soundscape opens The Low Anthem’s performance, followed by a folktale-esque reading of a narrative poem about Eyeland. The soundscape then takes flight by the introduction of razors, door creaks and other sounds of undistinguishable origin. From the darkness, the instruments of the other band members – Ben Miller, Jeff Prystowsky and Bryan Minto – progressively emerge into illumination. As the delicate piano faded, the meditative voice of Miller begins. The audience is arrested by the profound beauty of the environment that The Low Anthem has created.
Beginning with a spoken word poem, the rhythm of the performance transitions from a long, calm, angelic fusion of folk, rock and jazz to a short, quick, erratic heavy rock song and then back again. The sudden transition of rhythm articulates itself as a slap in the face and adds another dimension of poetic composition to the performance. The audience has to work for the understanding of the message, and as the interaction occurs, it engages as a mirror of the structure of one’s own mind. From constant calm to instantaneous chaos, a psychological relationship with the music is created. The entirety of the performance acts as a comment on genre, crossing into folk, jazz, electronica, rock and heavy rock, yet the band never let themselves be placed into just one.
The Low Anthem are touring their new and fourth full-length album Eyeland. It is rare one discusses the beauty of an entire album these days, given that most ‘artists’ cannot compose more than two impactful songs, but every song in the album compliments the next with a harmonious juxtaposition. Out of all the live music I have experienced, none has evoked the emotional palette that the band achieved tonight. One can tell they are pursuers of beauty and we’re all lucky to get to partake in their journey.