Friday, January 30, 2015

Listen: Lower Dens - "To Die In L.A."

Baltimore experimental rock quartet Lower Dens are back! There's been a few changes - namely the departure of guitarist Carter Tanton since the release of their sophomore record Nootropics in 2012 but if they're still chugging along just fine without him it seems. "To Die In LA", the first single from their upcoming third record Escape From Evil, might very well be band's most pop-leaning turn but it feels earned and not just a pandering jumping of the shark. I mean Nootropics' "Brains" and non-album charity single "Non Grata" certainly showed the band was adept at a more universal sound that still retaining Lower Dens understated slow burning buildups.

In a lot of ways "To Die In L.A." follows that rather natural progression from the nascent pop melodies of Twin-Hand Movement's "I Get Nervous", Jana Hunter is growing more comfortable with exploring those more accessible conventions without conforming completely to them. Despite it's catchier dressings "To Die In LA" really is a showcase for Hunter's songwriting and vocals which she's also growing more and more comfortable with - replacing murky unsure whispers to full on belting. The track's pacing allows for Hunter to proceed with surer footing. Never one for too many words, Hunter instead lets her lyrics slowly coalesce - surging forward to its triumphant harmony-laden choruses.

If I've learned anything from Lower Dens, it's that you never really know what to expect from them so while "To Die In L.A." might be a pop song through and through, there's really no telling the rest of Escape From Evil will sound anything like it. That's exciting though and at least for now we can all enjoy the sheer positivity and radiant melodies of Lower Dens' return.

Lower Dens' upcoming third album Escape From Evil is out March 31 on Ribbon Music. CD and limited edition purple LP available for pre-order now.

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