I have to admit that this album stayed on my pile marked 'to do later' for a while, simply due to the cover artwork. Silly I know, but I am a lover of cool artwork and all I thought when I saw this was 'Math Rock', a horrible term for a genre of rock I know (who comes up with these terms anyway?) and it just didn't appeal.
I guess it was the graph paper but, like the saying goes, "don't judge a book by its cover" and this album is far from what I expected. I should ignore my eyes and let my ears do the choosing in future, because this is a bit of a corker really.
This Toronto-based indie rock five piece have been slugging it out since 2006, with the release of their debut long player 'Urgency' in 2007 they achieved two top 40 singles in their homeland, and plenty of gigging culminated in an extensive tour of India. Now, after four years they return with their sophomore album, 'Through These Walls'. Two years in the making they have taken their time to produce a more cohesive and full album which should gain them even more success this side of the pond.
'Cash Machine' opens with an urgency that sets the scene for the album. The simple yet effective riff steals the show from the off, filling my ears with melody. The sweet laid back vocal style of Ryan Malcolm fits well and the glorious backing vocals in harmony with the little three note riff gives a sweet '60s vibe.Very nice indeed.
The punk-lite feel of the following track 'Exit' hints at '90s agit rockers Compulsion or even The Automatic; it's radio friendly, modern indie rock, anthemic and ideal for the radio. There is no sign that the album will peak too soon as the good tunes keep coming. 'Quiet Rage' has a Strokes feel about it, you know that sorta 'da na na na' thing going on. This refrain rears its head again from time to time throughout the album, and it's a welcome feature.
'Bloody Knuckles' drives on bass and an infectious melody that stays with you, great chorus. Hook-laden 'Brooklyn Radio' is the second single to be taken from this album and showcases the kind of melody and songwriting suss these guys possess. This is far superior to most of the stuff masquerading as rock on the radio these days, so do them a favour and go request it.
The closing, title track is the most melancholy on offer, a slow builder, the riffs and drum pattern intertwine to create the intensifying melody. Ryan's emotional vocal performance soaring to the end makes the song and I'm left feeling introspective, which is always a nice way to end an album, I think.
The songs stay with you and call at you to be played again, the freshly familiar riffs and harmonies command repeated plays, and every listen yields a favourite new song. They have a gift for melody and a bit of a trademark sound seems to be the high harmonies as one with simple stabbing riffs, it works for me.
There's something oddly appealing about their sound; it's simple and effective indie music, like a more energetic White Lies/Killers cross breed in places, and although it loses pace slightly for the last few songs it's a pretty consistant and strong album.
Low Level Flight feel like a band on the rise and 'Through These Walls' could be the album that makes them.
Ryan Malcolm: lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Hugh Allen: lead guitar
James Rooke: rhythm guitar
Brandon Merenick: drums, percussion
Sebastien Duhaime: bass
buy the album here: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/through-these-walls/id435737265