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Label: Goner
Territory: Espa簽a / Portugal
Availabilty: Festivales Julio 2020


Sydneys Mitch Tolman might not be a fan of the meathead bros he grew up
around, but theyre clearly his muse. It was evident on Low Lifes debut
2014 album Doggingthe lyrics from the bands burly and brooding post-punk
songs owe quite a bit to Australian lad culture. Tolmans got a gift for
turning entitled toxic masculine bullshit into absurdist satire. Tryin
to be a good man, to be a good bloke/But I love gettin off and Im
fuckin stoked, he deadpanned on Dogging ripper DNA. In the field of
recent post-punk bands, Low Life occupy a deeply specific zone. They make
muscular pit music that glistens with new wave synthesizers, and
meanwhile, a dispassionate Australian voice is up front taking the piss
out of sexist and homophobic dinguses. Its a riveting mixture.

On their second album Downer Edn (pronounced Downer Edition), Low Life
continue to comb through societys sludge. Tolman still puts together
elaborate depictions of dirtbags, like his portrait of the titular
Warriora golden orange tan dude who eats KFC while watching UFC.
Those kinds of details are good for a laugh or two, but Tolmans stiff
delivery and his bandmates brusque gang vocals highlight the darkness
behind this caricature of strongman politics and domestic violence. Their
song 92, which alludes to child abuse, peers even further into the void.
Small boys grow into bad men, battered boys become very bad men is the
songs horrific mantra.

While Downer Edn bursts with punk vitalityfuzz, volume, speed, a bunch of
dudes shouting in unisonits their work with feedback and texture that
makes it special. Beyond the clipped churn of power chords on Lad Life,
a shimmering, gauzy guitar tone presides. Its a sweet-and-salty
combination thats been in place since Dogging, but the new album finds
the band sounding more streamlined and sophisticated than ever. Its
tempting to credit their new collaborators for the upgrade, namely
co-producer Mickey Grossman and new guitarist and synth player Dizzy
Daldal. Daldal is also a member of Orion, a Sydney band whose overlooked
self-titled 2017 album was a sparkling document of Factory
Records-indebted post-punk.
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Its not just dreamy guitars or bleak humor that elevate Downer Edn:
Theyve also got a bona fide anthem in RBB. The title is an abbreviation
for the Red and Black Bloc, the official fan group for the Western Sydney
Wanderers Football Club. (Tolman is an outspoken soccer fan.) Drummer Greg
Alfaro builds momentum for their mission statement: You know who the fuck
we are/We are Western Sydney, they chant. It doesnt matter where in the
world you areif Low Life are in your town, youre probably going to
scream the bands Sydney soccer anthem back at them. Hell, it even
happened at a recent Melbourne show.

In an interview, Low Life discussed the guiding question behind their
creative process: What can we do easiest that can work the best? Downer
Edn is an album-length expression of that philosophy, with an emphasis on
repetition and subdued vocals. Sometimes it works and they pull off a
major coup (RBB), and elsewhere, songs are prone to going stale or
petering out (Rave Slave). Theyve put together a record thats
consistently captivating. Theres darkness and there are laughs,
scream-along anthems for shoving and dreamy near-ballads. The first and
last song on the album are variations on the same melody, so as album
closer Crash ends, it feels effortless to flip the record and revisit
The Pitts. Its a tongue-in-cheek song where they essentially declare
that you, the listener, are now their disciple. Its a self-aware joke,
but maybe wait to laugh until youve stopped running the album back.

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