The Low Frequency in Stereo
The Last Temptation of…
Photoshoping themselves into the spacesuits of the Mercury 7 astronauts for the cover of their album is an oddly appropriate move for the Norwegian band The Low Frequency in Stereo. Nearly every influence the group pulls from finds its root, regardless of how disparate they are, in genres from the ’60s. For the most part, The Last Temptation of… comes across like the melding of psychedelica and garage rock. There’s a seamless fluidity between the driving beats, angular guitar riffing and skronky organ yelps that propel the opener “Big City Lights” and the atmospheric, space-navigating free-for-all of “The Challenger.” In fact, even tracks like “21” –which outdoes most contemporary dance-punk– feels as fresh and raw as if it was the first punk song ever written, thanks to its sharply tailored melodies and singer Hanne Eidsvaag’s pouty vocal delivery. “Axes” conjures up mid-’90s Stereolab through softly droning verses, farfisa burbles and Eidsvaag’s ethereal coo. Surprisingly, a 12-string guitar appears halfway into the song, ringing in a riff that instantly evokes The Byrds. It’s hard to pin down whether to think of this disc as “genre defiant” or “genre inclusive.” By drawing from so many different sources, it definitely plots the progression of rock music through the latter half of the ’60s, but it’s not cohesive enough of a sound on its own to merit its own genre. A perfect example of this paradox manifests itself on the 10-minute title track. An instrumental, the song begins with primal percussion and slowly gives way to extraterrestrial guitar effects. At different moments it wouldn’t sound out of place as the score to either 2001: A Space Odyssey or Easy Rider. Unclassifiable though it may be, The Last Temptation of… is a great introduction to a very interesting band.
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