Friday, April 21, 2017

EP Corner: Four Songs Too Long by Low Horizon

Low Horizon are a band from Houston, Texas. There are currently four people in the band - John Gottlieb, Brandon T. Cane, David Dao and Jasmine Fuller - but it wasn't always thus. In fact, Low Horizon's website is home to this rather ambitious Venn diagram that maps out all the present and former members and the things they have in common:

You see, the band were originally a three-piece, and when two of the three members went off to medical school in 2015 it looked like the sun had set on Low Horizon. But John - the one remaining member - decided to keep going, and with the blessing of his former bandmates Jack and Travis he rebuilt Low Horizon from the ground up, re-recording their songs in his home studio and recruiting a new group of collaborators to help him keep the fire burning.

Today, Low Horizon Mk II release their debut EP Four Songs Too Long: five tracks of fun, Weezerish rock music with jolly lyrics about death and grieving and stuff. Fuzzy electric guitars rub up against each other like balloons on woolly jumpers and are occasionally interrupted by bursts of buzzy 8-bit synth, as happens 32 seconds into the short and sweet Next Time:

Four Songs Too Long is a mixed bag of emotions. As mentioned above, most of the songs deal with death and the question of how you move on after death claims those close to you; penultimate track 40//Death is a particularly bittersweet number whose narrator is witnessing a loved one's final moments and coming to terms with the fact that the dying person won't be there for the whole rest of his life.

"When I'm 40, you'll be dead...don't leave me here, don't leave me alone..."

But contrary to what that might suggest, Four Songs Too Long is never a harrowing or depressing listen. For one thing, the band's sloppy, chunky blend of pop-punk and garage rock music is too colourful and full-hearted - more Blue Album than Skeleton Tree - to evoke anything approaching despair, and even as Gottlieb battles bleak topics like bereavement, you always get the sense that there's a bright new dawn just over the (low) horizon. Just as this band rose from the ashes of a band that split too soon, their EP acknowledges that death doesn't have to be the end - Funeral looks forward to a possible reunion in the afterlife, while Just Fine puts an arm around your shoulder, offers you a lick of ice cream, and reminds that you've still got plenty of life to live before you go.

Four Songs Too Long is out today as a name-your-price download. Buy it from Low Horizon's Bandcamp page!

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