Majestic Mountain Records is proud to announce the signing of Swedish, Umeå-based stoner rock trio I AM LOW for the release of the band’s fourth album Úma, out now. Ten years, three albums, two EPs and one line up change, the band (comprising guitarist and vocalist Kristoffer Norgren, bassist Anton Höög and drummer and backing vocalist Oskar Melander) are now ready to release their fourth, and maybe their best and brightest album yet, perhaps heavier and slightly more psychedelic than ever before.
This is actually my first taste of the band, and they do immediately remind me of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, King Buffalo, and lots of other folk – but they do have their own inimitable blend of psychedelic fuzz/stoner metal. Fans of bands like Alice In Chains, Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss will like it, but I do believe the wider “Rock church” will also be mightily impressed!
Opening track Gunman is a pacey, hypnotic Desert/Stoner rock number with a hint of psychedelia and a touch of metal, and bizarrely the vocals immediately remind me of a criminally under-rated 70’s band Help Yourself (who were a bit more hippy-ish but the link is definitely there!) This is full-on fuzz-rock but it retains a nice sense of tunefulness.
Dead Space is next, a slower almost dreamy mood that still blends so well with the fuzz-rifferama. The spacy-ness of the vocals is hugely reminiscent of one of my fave “finds” of recent years, Australia’s Kimono Drag Queens – purveyors of similar dreamy psych-rock. This track is really impressive, it’s dense but again melodic. This is indeed proper Alt-rock. Ruins follows, a fast-paced number that is almost punky but with a fuzz overtone. Definitely has that harder edge to it, a heavier, more dynamic and perhaps a more psychedelic note than before, it’s short but sweet!
Then we have Wake, curling in with almost tribal drums, again shades of the Kimonos until a pretty heavy / almost doom riff assaults you. A fair amount of distortion, but somehow the dreamy vocals soften the whole thing. This is quality psych-stoner rock, one of the album’s strongest tracks. Úma continues this wonderful blend of fuzz/stoner with psych-rock, it really works well even in this slower, darker track. The vocals are echoey, haunting, and the tracks builds and builds impressively, very 90’s, imagine Nirvana doing a blues-rock track! Power and precision nicely knitted, this is great.
Pigs is back to that sort of fuzz/punk/alt-rock mix, with that grungy but tuneful vocal line and some very tasty guitar work. I have to say these three guys know what they’re doing, and doing it well! Time reverts to their slower, atmospheric, psychedelic vibe. It’s really effective the sequencing of the tracks on this album, never ever letting you think its getting humdrum or predictable. Time also has echoes of Dawnwalker in the massive post-rock chords unleashed in between the gentler bits together with some nicely spacey sections. The (equal) longest track on the album, this is a cleverly constructed piece of music.
Void lives up to its name, a sparse, hollow, semi-acoustic number to start with. Interesting percussion, mellow almost bluesy ‘noodling’, a cinematic feel to it, a sense of panoramic desert in front of the listener/viewer….and then we have the album’s closer, Release. At times their vocals could be early Pink Floyd or Jefferson Airplane, always with that gentle, underlying sense of stoner likely to emerge. “Gentle Stoner” – not a description I’ve ever used before, but it sort of captures these guys! I would certainly say if you’ve never previously liked Stoner, give this a try and I believe you will be very agreeably surprised!
It’s a nicely produced album, very varied, very entertaining – one of the joys of reviewing new material is stumbling across little gems like this – Rock On!
That first video is a bit brief, so here’s another – enjoy!