I’m ringing in the first day of October alone, with an overcast sky outside my window, a very good possibility of snow (!) on the horizon and Low Skies’ The Bed on my stereo. It’s a perfect trio for my current mood. Taking the eerie starkness of slow-core and wrapping it up in funeral procession organ notes and mourning pedal steel, Low Skies are the mid-west’s answer to California’s Black Heart Procession, swapping the feel of a coming ice storm for that band’s humid swelter.
A drum and bass throb sets a stumbling pace through muddy fields on the opener “Down Below Him.” Though the rhythm instruments guide where the song goes, the pervasive silence that surrounds the music is equally powerful. Ominous quiet rules most of the album, but songs like “This is Where You’ll Be Staying” are filled with moments of blind rage and a struggle for consciousness, tearing at your ears with frozen guitar strings. “Crimson Organs Alone” latches grimly onto the intersection between the loud and the quiet. It stretches out languidly, wading through the mounting tension of an ever quickening, but never overwhelming, guitar strum.
Riding on the band’s gunshot-wounded lurch is singer Christopher Salveter, whose husky baritone and Yorke-ian falsetto spits tales of drunken half-remembering and crime scene clean-ups. The range of Salveter’s voice is one of the band’s most powerful weapons. Just listen to “This is Where You’ll be Staying,” which strays almost into Danzig territory, then skip to the closer “The Swan” with its heavenly androgynous vocals. It’s quite impressive.
This is a quality album to put on as the temperature drops. It won’t exactly warm your blood; it will just help you get acclimated to the cold faster. Bring on the snow, I say!
Flameshovel Records: http://www.flameshovel.com/ • Low Skies: http://www.lowskies.com/