Lower Than Atlantis have earnt themselves a well deserved ‘hard working’ reputation during the last 6 years with an intensive touring commitment, along with progression, growth and change.
It’s not too often I find myself struck by a band with such a predominantly young audience. In fact, it’s quite unnerving, knowing what I’ve heard of the Watford based quartet, to suddenly feel like I’m about to be confronted by some androgynous, floppy-haired, boy-band. However, my fears are quickly allayed as Lower Than Atlantis hit us hard and fast.
A seizure–inducing strobe light introduction accompanies the energy and aggression of ‘Love Someone Else’ the lead single from last years Island Records album release ‘Changing Tune’. Followed by ‘PMA’, ‘High At Five’ and ‘Marilyn’s Mansion’, Lower Than Atlantis adequately demonstrate that they are fine purveyors of infectiously crunchy, melodic and spring-loaded hardcore. The Wulfrun Hall may only be three parts full but it’s obvious that those here are from a devoted fanbase. Girls at the front gaze in awe whilst lads go bananas in the circle pit, all of them screaming along to every word.
Before playing ‘Go On Strike’ vocalist/guitarist Mike Duce gives a “follow your dreams” speech. I’ve heard similar – albeit cringe-worthy versions – but Duce’s encouragement to those who are listening, and his gratitude for being where he is today, certainly appears genuine enough. Perhaps there is a right time and place for this kind of dialogue.
The creative core of Lower Than Atlantis is original members Duce and guitarist Ben Sansom, who have a distinctive maturity to their songwriting. Their live performance, along with Eddy Thrower and Dec Hart on drums and bass respectively, is equally adept.
Tearing through everything from the full-on ‘Face Full Of Scars’ and ‘Far Q’ to the acoustics of ‘Scared Of The Dark’ and ‘Another Sad Song’, their three studio album catalogue is an impressive range of material. This is a band full of charisma, bounding with energy, and whilst the kids might love them with their frenetic moshing from start to finish – I think they have a lot to offer in terms of listenability to a wider audience.
The two minute wonder that is ‘Beech Like The Tree’ and a version of Electric Six’s ‘Gay Bar’ complete what has been a really good live show from a really good British band. As I leave the venue I’m thinking a band named after a place no deeper – Lower Than Atlantis should probably be getting themselves ready to rise to new heights.
Review & Photography: Steve Johnston