The songs of The Low Anthem portray a decayed world on the brink of collapse, with a quiet intimacy usually reserved for introspective events like religious worship.
Going to a The Low Anthem concert is like stumbling upon a backwoods church with aged clapboard siding, windows thrown open to songs of melancholy and longing, attracting congregants young and old -- most of whom wear plaid. An old foot pump organ with gaffer’s tape and other assorted antique and electrified instruments are assembled on the stage. The songs, eerily beautiful, portray a decayed world on the brink of collapse with a quiet intimacy usually reserved for introspective events like religious worship.
One of the band’s founding members, Jeffrey Prystowsky says, “there’s a beautiful reverence for silence created by old religions that is close to musicians’s sensibilities.” Ethereal instruments such as a saw blade and Crotales--a rack of bronze cymbal-like discs played with a violin bow producing ghostly feedback--add to the reverential aura. The band's pro-environment and anti-capitalist sentiments are also gracefully woven into the poetry of their lyrics.
All piety aside, they can rock out too--as they did at Brooklyn's Bell House last week. Such songs as “The Horizon is a Beltway” and “Home I’ll Never Be” sounded like a rollicking revival. Each band member played several instruments, changing for almost every song. Prystowsky started at stand-up bass, but also played drums and pump organ. At times it seemed these classically trained musicians could make beautiful music out of any random bit of electrified metal--which they did.