What is it, week 4? Week 5, maybe? Do any of us really know? The only universal fact for all of us Seattle U kidz is that the school year is almost completed, the weather is starting to turn in our favor. You Seniors will be entering the real-life stage of real life, you Juniors and Sophomores will be doing whatever it is you do over the summer vacation, and you Freshmen will be going home to brag to all of your friends about how different you are now because of college (Like, I totally smoked a whole bottle of tequila, Megantha! Didn’t you see my Snapchat?!) Regardless of what this summer holds for you, I’m sure you’ll have fun.
To help us finish out the year, I’d like to introduce you good people to an English group from the town of Buxton called Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love. Let me repeat that, that’s Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love. For obvious reasons, I’ll refer to them from here on out as L-9.
L-9 is a group that exudes emotion, extreme songwriting talent, and ingenuity. Technically, they’d go by indie rock, but “indie rock” is such a generic term now-a-days that classifying a group like this with that genre title would not do the music the justice it deserves. So, maybe a better classification is alternative folk, to better illustrate the gravity of the recordings. These are songs with meanings that obviously go deep into the artist’s mind, and radiate images of a lonesome figure scribbling lyrics in a notebook by an open window.
The latest release L-9 has to offer hops onto the alliteration train with the title Last. And unfortunately, Last is the final album for this band. But it is a mighty-fine swan song. I don’t believe L-9 thinks there was anything left on the table after finishing this.
I can’t help but think of the influences I can hear throughout the album. For instance, the semi-trippy, fuzz-laden and ambient opening of the album called “Goodbyes” reminds of the way Pink Floyd went about writing conceptual albums like The Wall. The songs of Last are meant to flow into each other. Last is the entire painting, rather than the portfolio. The single, “Burrow” may the most pleasing rock song I’ve heard all month. It has that classic dreamy tone to it, and vocal harmonies that could make a human levitate.
As for other influences, when I listen to this group, my Beatles radar goes off the chain. The way L-9 syncs complicated melodies with unexpected chord changes and beautiful imagery-filled lyrics is right out of John Lennon’s book. For instance, “A World In Ruin” is one of those Lennon-like ear-worms that won’t leave the inside of my skull for days.
The typical formula for tracks off of Last is composed of a basic acoustic guitar track pounding out the main chord progression, a steady drum beat and bass to keep the rhythm together, sometimes a banjo, and layered vocals for the main melody and complex harmonies, usually with some amount of fuzz. The harmonies L-9 conjures are what I find most impressive about this group. I cannot think of a better way this band could have filled the soundscape. Going back in their discography to a release called Feels, Feathers, Bog and Bees, there is a song titled “Blackbird 3” that is soul-infiltrating. Following over a minute of what sounds like an old music box over a peaceful acoustic guitar line, the vocals come in with the most heartbreaking melody and the most reflective lyrics. Around the 1:50 mark, the lyrics are, “I guess that I would say so,” and suddenly, what sounds like four-part harmony, masterfully written, executed, and mixed enters into the composition. I’m reminded of Crosby, Stills and Nash as the vocals of “Blackbird 3” weave in and out of the stereo path overtop of a naked acoustic guitar tragically picking away.
As far as getting into bed with L-9, they have a tough bio to pin down. From what I’ve gathered on their sites, the project began with brothers Kelly and Ellis Dyson writing folk songs on their father’s acoustic guitar. A collaboration with Natalia Brightmore added heat to the chemical reaction, and L-9 was able to release music off of their own record label, Birds and Rodents. Three LPs down, Last was released in 2015 off of Other-Electricities as the fourth and final chapter.
Recording in the bedroom was the norm for L-9, but Last required a little more. For this, they built a studio in Dyson’s basement, and recorded what would be their masterpiece.
I’m sorry that the group disbanded before I got the chance to know them very well. I believe they could have gained substantial popularity, and maybe could have toured to Seattle for me to catch a glimpse of their live show. But life must go on, and people must evolve. All there is left to feel is gratitude for the time Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love spent writing in the bedroom.
JASON McCUE | Jason Jason Jason Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell McCue McCue McCue | KXSU Reporter