Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Super Low

Warehouse are a band from Georgia, and their music sounds a bit like what early R.E.M. might have sounded like if Berry, Buck, Mills and Stipe had taken a field trip back to 1920s Germany and spent a day deep in thought at the Bauhaus.

Super Low - reportedly named after a supermarket that's just across the road from the studio where this album was recorded - is a dense, intricate slice of tightly-wound art indie that's kind of difficult to pin down. Each song is full of musical ideas, and even the most accessible, straightforward track (lead single Simultaneous Contrasts, a krauty number that has something of Electrelane about it) features several surprising colour changes and gear shifts.

Sometimes those jangly duelling guitars feel anxious and twitchy, while at other times the music sounds as laid-back and chilled-out as anything else I've heard this year. These shapeshifting, unpredictable arrangements are perfectly reflected in Elaine Edenfield's vocals, perhaps Warehouse's most versatile weapon; throughout this album. Edenfield flits from a scarcely-intelligible mutter to a corroded, guttural growl and up and down and back again. For example, listen to Exit Only:

And then listen to the rather more understated Long Exposure:

And now tell me - honestly - whether or not you'd have guessed that those two songs were performed by the same singer.

Warehouse make ever-changing music for an ever-changing world, but in spite of Edenfield's wonderfully erratic vocal displays and the band's apparent determination to find the missing link between '80s college radio and '70s prog rock, Super Low is actually a very cohesive listen. Their sound is distinctive yet consistent, and while the album is never predictable, the left turns are never non-sequiturs; each new direction feels organic, and that's the truly impressive thing about this record.

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