British rockers Lower Than Atlantis are back, but it’s not quite the triumphant return we’ve all been hoping for. As the album title, Safe in Sound, suggests, the band haven’t taken any risks sonically. In fact, it feels like an attempt to replicate the masterpiece that was their last album. Unfortunately, where that self-titled record soared, Safe in Sound falls frustratingly flat.
Of course, there are moments of brilliance; the opening track ‘Had Enough’ has plenty of heft and riffs to blow your mind (and eardrums, but in a good way). Some of the softer moments later in the record are equally enjoyable. ‘I Would’ undoubtedly pays homage to Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles’, which became a fan favourite when the band covered it in 2015. Lyrically, ‘I Would’ is packed with clichés such as “I am the lock and you’re the key”, and yet, it is so fun that this is excusable.
Sadly, Safe in Sound is, for the most part, full of repetitive choruses which fall short of catchy- take ‘Boomerang’ as a prime example -and vocal distortions which detract from frontman Mike Duce’s rugged rock n roll tones. The stabs at sentimentality are entirely empty; it’s difficult when listening to ‘Could Be Worse’ and ‘I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore’ to find feeling in them. Then again, that could be the point.
Despite the record’s disappointments, the band’s huge upcoming tour will certainly be memorable. This band are always on their finest form during live shows, and their songs are built for such settings. The oh-so-British-it-hurts chants of “Who are ya? Who are ya?” of ‘Long Time Coming’, and ‘Work’s’ lengthy “wo-o-o-ah” can only reach their potential with thousands of people joining in.
Lower Than Atlantis might be hit and miss with studio releases, but they will never deliver ‘A Night to Forget’.