Loaded with robust, riotous anthems, Lower Than Atlantis spend the first half of ‘Safe In Sound’ parading their grunge-rock roots. Opener ‘Had Enough’ sparks an incendiary energy, before the pop-rock bounce of ‘Dumb’ takes over, followed by the almighty ‘Long Time Coming’. Sonically, the leading trio of songs are all underscored by the same fierce, no-nonsense stance, and frontman Mike Duce has the attitude to match. Duce leaves behind his typical, self-deprecating style in favour of a bolder, brasher incarnation. And for once, it’s refreshing to hear him playing a part other than the victim.
Toeing the line between chart fodder and alt-anthem, ‘Boomerang’ ushers in the album’s pop tendencies. Despite the obvious hook (“like a boomerang, I’ll come back around again”), the more experimental production keeps the song on the right side of the line. However, ‘Work For It’ — while being the heaviest sound on the album — can’t resist the mandatory rally-cry chorus that so many of their contemporaries have capitalised on.
‘Could Be Way Worse’ is LTA doing what they do best. An anthem for the everyman, the band channels that ubiquity (or in their words, the “fuck it to the man” mentality) that catapulted them to greater heights. With the addition of Duce’s intricate crossover guitar parts and the Incubus-esque chorus, doused in feeling — it’s glorious.
‘Safe In Sound’ is a case in point that the boys are at their finest when they can strike a balance between their pop tendencies and their grunge roots. Lower Than Atlantis may have already released a self-titled album in 2014, but it’s the follow-up that sounds more like them than any of their other records.
Words: Lisa Henderson
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