Low Life


Low Life From Squats to Lots: The Agony and XTC of Low Life LP

I haven’t caught up with these Aussies since their debut LP Dogging back in 2017, an album I loved, especially in headphones during the rainy months. Well, their third record has appeared in time for the rainy season again, and despite the years between listening, the band has returned with a record that has everything I found so appealing on Dogging, but just ever so matured and nuanced. I’ve always imagined the LOW LIFE sound being created by some smirking lads, loose and laughing on lager, having made off with the CURE’s gear circa Faith and Pornography, but starting a hardcore band with it instead. Stomping and pushing their chorus pedals to sound less blissed-out and distant than pharmaceutically blurry and smothering, replacing a limp strum with a harder attack. Sonically, there’s some special studio accents like trumpets, orchestral strings, and acoustic guitar textures; song-wise, there’s fewer barreling ragers and more moody meditations, but always brimming with desperation and frustration that frames the album’s spirit around the layers of watery chordage. LOW LIFE is in classically fine form and begs for repeat listening and time for full immersion.

Low Life Downer Edn LP

Bleak anthems that evoke a late-’80s post-hardcore musical landscape: dark shards of guitar and vocal intonations, with desolate lyrical incisions into the void of macho culture… A total sound, a wall of guitar where there’s something for people that want the big guitar sound somewhere between the CULT and BIG BLACK, but also require a punishing hardcore pummel. The post-punk flange sound is stripped of any aesthetic pose and used as another aural weapon. There’s a weary fury to this: what are men for, what destruction do they do to those stuck around them in the stands of sporting grounds, in the family home? There’s no respite to the totality, no answer, just a lived experience expressed through sound.