The New Lows have come up with a total low-fi delight in their third full length, I Couldn’t Sleep. Equally an indie chill out and a punk rock party, I Couldn’t Sleep is fourteen short, sweet little musical bites of joy.
The Floridian quartet are pretty tricky to pin down. Opening track ‘Losing Streak’ is melodic punk at its best, as is ‘Ferposhknickt’ (which incidentally, is one of the best song titles in the world to say out loud), but ‘Ghost’ then takes it in a totally different direction. Reminiscent of a more mellow Fake Problems track, ‘Ghost’ is unfailing in its ability to burrow its way in and embed itself in your skull, echoing around in there forever. Then The New Lows disappear in another direction as they get to ‘Stove’ and ‘Abeyance’, which are like more stripped down Weakerthans tracks, only with lyrics about Xboxes rather than Winnepeg.
Not everything is wistful and bouncy though. ‘Pilgrim’ is completely crushing, with some outstanding synthesiser work and backing vocals. However, it’s ‘Leaves’ that will be the sleeper hit of the season – with some positively sublime ‘oohs’, incredibly rocked up riffs and unrelentingly cool vocals, it’s truly brilliant. Nevertheless, almost every track has a real highlight – whether it’s the cheeky bits of piano in ‘St Sans’ or the whistles in ‘Arbor’, these little touches catch you by surprise on every listen, and I keep noticing new bits every time. The New Lows have taken cues from their punk rock beginnings though and each track is simply structured and wholly addictive, allowing poignant and thoughtful lyrics to seep through the background and into your consciousness.
I Couldn’t Sleep should please a good number of people, and the rest should be soon converted. Perfect for anyone who finds punk a little too abrasive and indie a little too pretentious, or for anyone that just likes good music, really.
4 out of 5 high fives!