Once in a Long, Long While by Low Roar – Album Review
by Victoria Holdsworth
As soon as the first track starts on this third album from nomadic California-born, Iceland resident, Ryan Karazija you are greeted by an atmosphere that overwhelms throughout. It is depressing, frankly, despite moments of sonic invention and lyrical power.
It’s hard to enjoy the constant lamentation that is Low Roar’s music, even when it sounds stunning in very small crannies. It really does nothing for me as a listener – and neither does the subject matter, as the songs linger mainly on an ex-wife and lover.
I struggled, but could not find a single beaming ray of colour penetrating through the darkness on this album. The lyrics are bold, the production is bolder, but ultimately it feels distended, even in comparison to previous album ‘0.’ The beauty of ‘0’ laid in the simplicity of the production and the haunting atmosphere carried as the tracks went into their explosive choruses.
‘Don’t Be So Serious’ is the only track where any musical progress can be seen. Once in a Long, Long While is an emotional odyssey of darkness from start to finish and far too self-indulgent.
By the time that you reach the fourth track, ‘Give Me an Answer’, you realise Ryan Karazija’s frozen tundra surroundings in Iceland are omnipresent – cold and a bit bleak in places. This sort of dopily dissonant, synth-mashing and warbling just doesn’t cut it anymore.
‘Crawl Back’ and ’13’ are atmospheric instrumental tracks that offer some calming interludes – and there are some dark and beautiful textures going on here. But it all seems as disjointed as the artist’s interminable love life.
Surely, life is far too short to be this miserable.