Exploring new territory adds depth to a band, but for one not yet established, the line between triumph and catastrophe is precarious. Low Red Land’s shift, although somewhat slight, is still incongruous to their previous Americana-heavy offerings. Dog’s Hymns
is loud and brash; it waivers between the melancholy of post-hardcore Washington, D.C., emo and the simmering guitar swagger of the Uncle Tupelo genealogy, which makes for a dirty mess of a time.
The EP has guts, but at times gets bogged down with too many intricacies. “Goodnight, Noon” exhibits serious riffage but wanders on as a drifting endeavor. The subtle but fierce guitar licks hover over the sing/speak of Neil Thompson and Ben Thorne while the math-y drumming of Mark DeVito is the cohesive undercurrent that keeps this San Francisco trio tightly wound. “Landmark” and “Gunfighter’s Afternoon” is cheerful in Low Red Land terms; mellow and introspective. “Hunt Song” is predatory in nature, effectively channeling a post-Minor Threat, pre-Fugazi Ian MacKaye.
Low Red Land is progressing into potentially cathartic territory, but unless they develop more character, the journey could be dry and uninspiring.
Low Red Land plays The Loft Saturday, Sept. 29, at 9 PM. Cover TBA.