It’s probably safe to say that the last year has been pretty successful for Lower Than Atlantis. Their self-titled fourth album well and truly propelled them to the fore of the mainstream British rock scene, earning them the title of Rock Sound’s Album Of The Year along with other accolades. Having well and truly embraced the melodic side of things, they are set to continue with a re-release of Lower Than Atlantis, The Black Edition, which contains a blend of two original tracks, covers and reworkings of their own songs.
Disc one of The Black Edition is still just as brilliant as it was a year ago. In fact, it’s probably got better with age. Here We Go still packs a massive punch, while Words Don’t Come So Easily and Stays The Same are just as tender and emotional as they were when they were first released. Every song is totally arena ready, and it’s clear why this album has been so career defining for Lower Than Atlantis.
But as good as disc one is, disc two is where the focus will be for listeners. Colossal new single Get Over It kicks things off, and the experimentation in both guitar techniques, inclusion of piano and strings, and development into more intelligent, metaphorical lyrics just shows how far they’ve come. The “let go, let go honey” refrain is just dying to be screamed back at the band, and the whole song feels like a gateway to more heights the quartet could hit in future with the right material. But that’s not to say it’s all change. Original bonus track Sewer Side‘s metaphor is summed up by its opening line (“flushed away like human waste”). It may not be the most eloquent, but it does provide a few giggles and a good singalong. Their Live Lounge cover of Nico & Vinz’s Am I Wrong is great, too, mellowing the original with acoustic guitars and more dulcet vocals.
The Black Edition also includes four new covers, chosen by a member each of Lower Than Atlantis. For the most part, they are surprising, and the standout by far is the cover of Robbie Williams’ Strong, which actually sounds like the band have written it themselves. The other covers are good, but they essentially feel like the originals with guitars and Mike Duce’s voice on top. It all feels a bit safe as absolutely no boundaries are broken. The other Live Lounge cover included, of Clean Bandit’s Real Love, does try to change things up in terms of style, but it’s ultimately quite boring. And while the alternate versions of album tracks Here We Go, Words Don’t Come So Easily, Ain’t No Friend and English Kids In America are pretty and different, they come off a bit bland, especially compared to how much more superior the originals are.
Reissues are often a controversial matter in terms of bands, due to reputations of them not being worth the money. Lower Than Atlantis – The Black Edition is more than worth the money in terms of both content and quality, especially if you’ve never heard the B-sides or Live Lounge covers before. While the second disc may not be as consistent in terms of quality compared to the first, it’s definitely worth a buy, and a must for any Lower Than Atlantis fan.
For fans of: Don Broco, Twin Atlantic, You Me At Six
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Lower Than Atlantis – The Black Edition’ by Lower Than Atlantis is released on 20th November on Sony Music.