Anaemic major label debut from Watford rockers.
Alistair Lawrence 2012-09-24
A strange band to take a punt on, Lower Than Atlantis will be familiar to most rock fans for appearing halfway up a bill rather than for any rapid ascension to prominence. Changing Tune probably takes its title from a desire to reinvent and redefine public perception of them. If anything, though, a bigger stage has exposed their limitations.
Every song arrives coated with a thick, glossy production sheen, brick-walled into oblivion. The overriding tone of this album is almost white noise, bereft of any personality or invention. Cynics might suggest that music this generic is written in mind for the radio, but without any strong hooks or memorable lines it’s hard to imagine it impressing as more than a background score. The lyrics that do find a way out of the cacophony either revolve around tired turns of phrase or lingering teenage angst, occasionally both.
Even the pacing of the tracklisting is clichéd. Right on cue, token ballad Scared of the Dark turns up at the halfway point to slow the pace with a bloodless cry. It’s predictably contrasted against Normally Strange, which offers buzzing, distorted guitars and not much else. Anyone who’s watched them cover The Smashing Pumpkins’ Bullet with Butterfly Wings live will have no trouble identifying one of the bands they’re seeking to be inspired by, but there’s nothing that dexterous, dynamic or anthemic here.
They go out the same way they came in, with loud guitars blazing amorphous riffs and no lines that bear repeating. Great lyrics tell stories, paint pictures or offer some observation that captures the imagination. The ones here hang in the air like a stale mist.
On the whole Lower Than Atlantis sound like a band that simply doesn’t have it in them to do something different. There’s a chance that there might be enough here for some people to like Changing Tune, but it seems a remote possibility that anyone could fall in love with these songs. They’re too bland, too safe and too boring.