After the (critical at least) success of 2009's 'Oh My God, Charlie Darwin', you could easily have forgiven The Low Anthem going all Kings Of Leon on us and releasing a more radio friendly unit shifter in the vein of the Tennessians recent 'Come Around Sundown' LP. This is the route that many a lesser band would have endeavoured to take and it is to the Rhode Islander's credit that they have stuck to their initial vision and once again plundered the depths of the 'quiet storm'.
So the fable goes that 'Smart Flesh' was recorded in an abandoned pasta sauce factory in their native Rhode Island. This is easily identifiable by the records vast depth of sound which is akin to hearing a beautiful hymn being sung in the Sistine Chapel. Tracks such as 'Matter Of Time' or 'Burn' take joy from the smallest of incident (see the incredible use of theirmin in the latter) almost evoking a religious like epiphany. From these quite awakenings, seas could part and man could ressurect from death. The band seem to take joy in making music that is borne from the ether, it feels like a strong wind would blow it away like petals on a violet flower, never to be heard of again.
These quiet, almost hymnal moments are undoubtedly the records high point with opener 'Ghost Woman Blues' and the penultimate 'Golden Cattle' being barely auidible beneath the deafening silence but devastating in their noise. But amongst all this silence sits the standout 'Boeing 737' which is most easily indentifible as being this record's 'The Horizon Is A Beltway' (from OMGCD). The track seems to revisit that fateful day of September 11th 2001 with the incredible verse:
I was in the bar when they rigged the towers, Trying to leave all my sins, The barmaid asked my order, And where my mind had been, I tried to recall that high wire, Phillippe and his foot there in heaven, As the prophets entered bodly into the bar, On the Boeing 737, Lord, on the Boeing 737.
all the while the band play as if on an artillary field. It is a true stand out moment that will surely leave The Arcade Fire watching their collective backs in the future.
Overall this is a truly magical record which deserves repeated listens by anyone who loved the band's previous work or by anyone who enjoys the music of artists such as Lambchop (circa 'Is A Woman'), Bonnie Prince Billy or Fleet Foxes.