Low Wormwood – Lanzhou Lanzhou – 8th July 2012

Cat #: 098TZM

The cliché goes that some geographical areas are synonymous with certain sounds: Merseybeat from Liverpool, for example, or grunge from Seattle. But it’s also the case that certain bands define their locales. Here, one tends to think of such acts as Arcade Fire, who did just that for Montreal with Funeral and The Suburbs. Such is the case with Low Wormwood, whose latest album, Lanzhou Lanzhou (their second licensed to tenzenmen) is perhaps a defining moment for both the band and the city of the title.

Unlike many bands from Lanzhou, this quartet don’t practise harmony- driven guitar folk. The metrics of this album depart from their early grunge and shoot for a less fiery but more coherent structure, coupling string-soaked flourishes of folk-rock with mundane lyrics about day-to-day living in Lanzhou. It borders on being a concept album, but the catchy rhythms manage to dilute the anthropological solemnity and make this something special.

‘Recording this album is almost like being in a relationship,’ explains lead singer Liu Kun. ‘When you love each other, it really burns. When you hate each other… well, it also burns.’

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