REVIEW: Lower Dens “Escape From Evil”

3.5 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

If Lower Dens had a motto, it very well might be “We Love the 80s.”

The Baltimore band slathers its latest record with a thick layer of late 80’s influences, including The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Joshua Tree-era U2. The whole thing sounds appropriately gorgeous, thanks to a glossy production by Chris Coady and lead singer/songwriter Jana Hunter.

Hunter is truly a one-woman opera, transitioning from mopey Robert Smith territory to Bono-esque heroics with ease. Her versatile and haunting voice ultimately helps Escape from Evil rise above some of the more regrettable 80s throwback artists. The band is top-notch as well, providing accompaniment for Hunter’s complex melodies. These are the sort of melodies that take a few listens to unfold, but afterwards you’ll be unable to shake them.

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From the jaunty synth line of “To Die in L.A.” to the droning beat of “Company,” the entire record warrants multiple listens. Upon “unpacking” this record, even more bits and pieces of musical ideas reveal themselves. “Non Grata” contains a hint of the world-music obsession that would come to define Talking Heads. It’s kind of impossible to talk about Lower Dens without mentioning other bands (also, this is how I communicate with people). But this doesn’t make them derivative. Not necessarily.

Rather, Lower Dens capture the feel of the late 80s perfectly, while contributing enough new blood to make things interesting. If nothing else, you may find yourself digging up your old copy of The Cure’s Disintegration, which is never a bad thing.

Lower Dens, “Escape From Evil” Release Date: January 29, 2015.

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