Lowertown - The Gaping Mouth Music Album Reviews

Lowertown - The Gaping Mouth Music Album Reviews
With newly complex arrangements and more freeform songwriting, the Atlanta duo ventures from its bedroom pop origins with occasionally fascinating results.

Lowertown writes about childhood as a recent past, like a strong gust of wind could transport them back to adolescence. It doesn’t hurt that the duo, made up of vocalist and guitarist Olivia Osby and multi-instrumentalist Avshalom Weinberg, are barely out of high school. The two bonded over The Glow Pt. 2 and Alex G during sophomore year at a private school in Atlanta, and they graduated into the uncertainty of 2020 with a self-produced album and a record deal with Dirty Hit. Their second EP on the label, The Gaping Mouth, gestures toward their bedroom pop influences but veers from the form, cutting a meandering path into adulthood.

Osby sings with a nervous lilt, cramming rushed syllables into contrastingly lolling measures as if each verse might be her last. Though her voice retains the same baseline youthfulness as on last year’s Honeycomb, Bedbug EP, it sounds gnarlier and brattier, nasally vowels elongated and protruding from her whispered phrases. Her pinched aggressiveness suits the more freeform writing, recalling Frances Quinlan’s raspy indignation as she sings about blackbirds (“those stupid little beasts”) on “Seaface,” her voice dripping with contempt.

The songwriting is a marked step above Lowertown’s previous efforts: Conspicuous Alex G imitations (the dog named “Randy” in last year’s “My Dog” might as well have been “Harvey” ) are replaced by poetic imagery and nonlinear narratives. Although Osby’s stream-of-consciousness mumbling leads to a few stoned aphorisms (“Everything is intentional if you payed attention to it,” she murmurs on “Clown Car”), there are just as many surprising gems: “You are the iris in my eye,” she sings on the title track, “The more light, the more you shrink away.” Her cryptic metaphors and close miked vocals evoke the hushed tones of an insomniac’s ramblings, sometimes literally: Producer Catherine Marks liked Osby’s 4 a.m., home-recorded vocal take for “The Gaping Mouth” so much that she used it in the final mix.

The music and lyrics on The Gaping Mouth move independently of each other, reaching the same destination at different paces. Osby sings over Weinberg’s instrumentation with a shared mood but a distinct rhythm. Phrases and musical motifs repeat, but anything resembling a chorus hardly reappears in any predictable fashion. Instead, Weinberg’s accompaniments seem more like loose guides for Osby’s words, more like a score to her slam poetry than a unified song.

Weinberg experiments more with song structure here, and his willowy compositions often leave a more lasting impression than the words. His classical training and background in jazz and math rock are evident in the nimble fingerpicking and complex rhythmic changes. On the prettiest moments, it’s tempting to want an instrumental version of these songs, their delicate melodies cast into the background even by Osby’s quiet delivery. For an album so grounded in the minutiae of teenage emotions, the plaintive accompaniment, which evokes solo guitar composition more than indie rock, feels mismatched. But when they lean into more straightforward song structures, as on closer “Sunburnt,” the duo’s chemistry comes into clearer view, Osby’s voice rising to meet the bigger sound.

Lowertown tends to catastrophize adulthood, but they lace their anxiety with caveats—they know 19 isn’t old, but it’s “old enough” to be threatened by the passage of time. That nuance sometimes comes at the expense of melody: The winding verses of The Gaping Mouth might find their way into the margins of a notebook, but they’d be a tough sell for a karaoke night or a cathartic group singalong. Still, that sense of solitude might be the point. Leaving childhood is a deeply isolating experience, even more so when lockdown and quarantine plague your last year of high school. The Gaping Mouth sounds the way that adolescence feels: self-aware but not yet self-assured.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Lowertown - The Gaping Mouth Music Album Reviews Lowertown - The Gaping Mouth Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on September 28, 2021 Rating: 5


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