Lower Dens ‘Escape From Evil’ with Synth-y “To Die in L.A.”

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 01.29.15 in News

Pigeonhole Lower Dens at your own risk. Singer and main songwriter Jana Hunter, in a review of Vashti Bunyan‘s Heartleap for The Talkhouse, correctly observed that Bunyan’s life story has boiled down into a set of readymade talking points: “a story largely written by the time Bunyan ‘re-surfaced’ in 2000.” Hunter’s past ties to Devendra Banhart‘s Gnomonsong label, her billowy voice’s slight resemblance to Victoria Legrand of fellow Baltimore band Beach House, a press release calling Lower Dens’ most recent album, 2012′s Nootropics, an homage to krautrock — all of these offer easy frames for the Hunter-led group’s next album, she knows it, and it’s too easy.

Lower Dens will return with Escape From Evil on March 31 via Ribbon Music, and they’ve shared “To Die in L.A.” from the album. Synths have echoed across the band’s records in the past, but here they’re exceptionally bright, poppy; “I wish I could count on you,” Hunter begins — and she could be addressing the distracted public — but goes on to add, “I’m just glad to be alive.” The album’s credit to chart-savvy Ariel Rechtshaid for additional production elements could be another bullet point for the Lower Dens CliffsNotes; so could co-production and mixing by Chris Coady, who previously mixed 2010′s Twin-Hand Movement. Then again, Hunter produced Escape From Evil herself; most likely the only relevant context here is the personal. Describing Bunyan’s rare opportunity “to have her songs presented the way she heard them,” the Lower Dens leader concluded her review, “It is quite a luxury, bearing witness.” Testify.

Lower Dens, 'Escape From Evil'

Escape from Evil (March 31, Ribbon Music)

1. Sucker’s Shangri-La
2. Ondine
3. To Die in L.A.
4. Quo Vadis
5. Your Heart Still Beating
6. Electric Current
7. I Am The Earth
8. Non Grata
9. Company
10. Société Anonyme