Lower Forty-Eight - Skin Failure

8 songs
37:53 minutes
***** ****


Only three days ago, I reached musical heaven with the debut release from The Mass. Today I check out their labelmates Lower Forty-Eight, who are as well an American band on a European label. Both bands share the same sense of non-conformist rhythm structures, but apart from that, L48 have a much different take on music. They reduce music to guitar, bass and drums, and the vocals are raw but never really aiming at the metal genre. Already the opener If I Dare shows fantastic potential: the bass guitar is very emancipated (many bands use the four strings only as a rhythmic backbone), the guitar very noise, and it is with the long A Pornstar's Afterlife where you start to understand the band's vision of combining punk and noise with contemporary music of the 20th century. It is songs like that which had them heavily criticised by some German e-zine, but L48's blend of short punk outbursts with longer epic tracks makes for a very interesting listen. Skin Failure, their second full length album so far, is rather short with just under 40 minutes, but that also guarantees that there is no time to get bored (although I doubt that such a talented band even knows the meaning of the word "boring").

This is an album which allows to be listened to on many levels: superficially it's noisy alternative rock, but luckily totally inappropriate for mainstream kids. More concentrated ears will notice that in fact there is much happening in the songs, that there is a musical interplay you probably can only get with three musicians at the most, and good musicians they have to be. A very adventurous album which should be checked out by everyone who likes their rock music angular and by people who need to see that there is great weird music beyond Fugazi.

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