The Low Anthem's Nonesuch debut offers an elegant and original take on Americana, what Paste describes as "gorgeous chamber folk." Its songs are distinguished by hushed, hymn-like, chamber-music arrangements—as well as by the occasional, deliriously free-spirited acoustic rave-up. Mojo calls the Rhode Island–based trio "truly startling songwriters and instrumentalists. Theirs is a gloriously romantic vision of America that sits somewhere between Dylan and Waits."
"At times languid and haunting, but with detours into Tom Waits-esque stomping and hollering, The Low Anthem’s music seems equally informed by Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, The Band and a late-night ride home in Joni Mitchell’s car." —NPR
"Recalling Fleet Foxes, Tom Waits, and Iron and Wine, New England trio The Low Anthem employ affecting harmonies, earthly blues, folk instrumentation, and high levels of imaginative sympathy for songs that compare the godly existence against ones lived without faith. They’re intriguingly ambivalent ... but the conundrums are so beautifully and hauntingly put, you’ll want to revisit them. Four stars." —Q magazine
"Most of the music was stately and mournful, with lyrics contemplating faith, loss, destruction and self-destruction in visionary imagery ... Every so often, making the quiet songs sound even quieter, the Low Anthem played something electric, bluesy and distorted, but equally serene in its desolation." —New York Times
"They’re constantly mixing up tempo, volume and instrumentation, but always in lock-stop harmony, like a beautifully turned double play." —Paste
"Truly startling songwriters and instrumentalists. Theirs is a gloriously romantic vision of America that sits somewhere between Dylan and Waits… A highly eventful journey into American songcraft, variously echoing Dylan, Springsteen, The Band and, explicitly, Tom Waits, thanks to a couple of rasping blues stompers which contrast dramatically to the churchy curtain-raiser." —Mojo
"A stunning band, one moment extracting every last drop of juice from a fragile vocal harmony, the next exploding into a howlin' raw blues number ... Expect much flowerier words of praise thrown on this band in the future; they deserve everything said about them." —BBC
"One of the breakthrough albums of 2009 ... A highly eventful journey into American songcraft, variously echoing Dylan, Springsteen, The Band, and Tom Waits.” —Mojo
On June 9, 2009, Nonesuch Records released the updated version of The Low Anthem's Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, which had a limited but critically praised independent release late last year. Rolling Stone says the music on Charlie Darwin feels “homemade” and “solemnly beautiful,” and NPR Music called the song “To Ohio” a “tender stunner” in choosing it as a Song of the Day.
Oh My God, Charlie Darwin was co-produced by The Low Anthem and Jesse Lauter. The band, Lauter, and several good friends went to Block Island, RI, for ten cold days in January 2008. They brought recording equipment along on the ferry ride and made the album by woodstove in an empty summer cabin. Among the 27 instruments on the record are zither, pump organ, Tibetan singing bowl, and an oil drum. The Low Anthem pays homage to two heroes with the record’s only cover, a one-take rendition of “Home I’ll Never Be,” with words by Jack Kerouac and music by Tom Waits.
Produced by Jesse Lauter and The Low Anthem
Engineered by Jesse Lauter
Additional Engineering on tracks 1, 6, 9, 10 by Travis Bell
Mixed by Brian Taylor
Recorded in the solace of a Block Island winter, Block Island, RI
Additional Recording at Adorea Studio in Hamden, CT; Oestern Studio in Williamsburg, NY; and in Harlem, NY
Mastered by Bob Ludwig
All songs by Miller/ Prystowsky, except track 5 by Kerouac/Waits and tracks 7, 8 by Miller/Adams. All songs published by Art Boat Publishing (ASCAP), except track 5 by Jalma Music/Duluoz Publishing (ASCAP).
Art Direction by Franklin Vandiver and Ben Knox Miller
Hand-painted in Providence, RI by Devil’s Rainbow!
This album is available from Nonesuch in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand only.
The Low Anthem: Ben Knox Miller, Jeffrey Prystowsky, Jocie Adams
Fiddling by Anna Williams (4,12) and Cameron Orr (4)
Singing Bowl (1) by Graham Smith
Tids and Bits by Jesse Lauter. All other music by The Low Anthem.