The Low Anthem – The Salt Doll Went to Measure the Depth of the Sea (album review)

by Woody on February 27, 2018

After a devastating accident while touring in 2016 that left their gear and instruments destroyed; and Jeff Prystowsky hospitalized for weeks, Ben Knox Miller became immersed in a fable about a salt doll that slowly dissolves back into the ocean but achieves a sense of being. That’s a pretty heady subject for someone who almost just met their maker in a very sudden manner.

As Prystowsky recuperated, Miller started demoing out the framework of a concept album based on this fable with the instruments lying around his house. The result is a stark and beautiful album. The album mixes in electronic elements to the folk that The Low Anthem is known for; immediately reminding me of Grandaddy.

As nice as those elements are, my favorite aspect of The Low Anthem is when they keep it simple. Over the course of the first part of the album, Give My Body Back a track that mixes a bouncy piano riff with the sound of an old vinyl record spinning is the highlight along with Toowee Toowee. The latter features Ben’s whispered falsetto.

On the back end, Cy Twombly By Campfire is a real nice track. It has a real glitchy feel to it, almost as if the track is being constantly interrupted. That’s followed by the lovely and understated Godwanaland. And they close it out beautifully with Final Transmission from the Diving Bell.

Admittedly I was lukewarm on Eyeland. There were parts of it I liked and parts of it that missed the mark in my opinion. I understand that Ben & Jeff don’t want to keep on making the same album over and over again. Salt Doll does a great job of connecting to the core of what drew to them in the first place while introducing some new elements.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

The Low Anthem is here

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