Having been around just over ten years, the fantastically named Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love are saying goodbye with the gift of a fourth, final full-length album – appropriately titled ‘Last’. Now a two-piece consisting of brothers Kelly and Ellis Dyson, the Peak District band lost none of their penchant for noise despite dwindling band member numbers. Following a process of mixing and mastering between day jobs, we finally get to hear the results via Audio Antihero and Other Electricities.
There’s an eerie sense of unease on the opening ‘Goodbyes’ (another fitting song title) – a clattering clash of instruments, feedback and screeching guitars is instantly attention-grabbing and as the song gradually evolves into the calm after the storm with some acoustic guitar and whispered vocals, you already know the band are equally at home whether they’re focusing on noise or folk. ‘Burrow’ follows on from this and the melodic and celebratory, almost party-like feelings on show bring to mind the best of mid-90s US indie – from Brendan Benson’s early output to Pavement. It’s noisy and joyful. There’s a distorted and dysfunctional edge to ‘Guard’, a song that is bursting with DIY aesthetics, lo-fi atmospherics and a killer Leonard Cohen-referencing line about an ‘unmade bed’.
‘Dandelions’ is an altogether more gentle affair with echoes of Villagers in the slow-burning guitar and its hypnotic swaying, while ‘Harvesting’ mixes chanted vocals with Sparklehorse-style subtlety and deliciously dark lyrics that are delivered with just the right sense of fragility: ‘I forgot how to be this hungry but I’m grateful for the small mercies’. Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love are at their most accessible on ‘A Shadow of a Doubt; an optimistic, punch-your-hands-in-air anthem that comes across like the Retrospective Soundtrack Players covering Efterklang. This more orchestral sound continues through various other songs on the remainder of the 13-song album – especially on the Sufjan-esque ‘What You Wanted Most’. There is an emotional edge to the gloriously noisy ‘Dispel’ – you can hear the tears falling down and just try not to let that grab you – while the studio-session start of ‘The Field’ may sound odd on first listen, but when you know the story of this being the duo’s last album it makes perfect sense.
Now, how does a band go about finishing their recorded career with a flourish? The title track of this album is a pretty good stab, showcasing the band’s deftness at the loud-quiet-loud dynamic. A fairly traditional and more indie sound, there’s a sing-along moment before a self-aware admission from the band: ‘I’m too old to change my tune’ before they finish the record, and indeed the life of their band with the rather fitting: ‘One last crash of all the cymbals, why couldn’t life be simple?’ Releasing the album as a footnote to a career ensures Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love can leave the scene with heads held high.
Buy Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love – ‘Last’ via Audio Antihero here.