Lower Lands - This Was Not Our Greatest Endeavour (Cover Artwork)

Lower Lands

This Was Not Our Greatest Endeavour (2011)


Lincoln, England's Lower Lands are a relatively new band on the collective radar of the Internet. Having said that, this EP was released when they were even newer. Their Facebook biography states that, "In just under a year, they've shared bills with bands such as Iron Chic, Crazy Arm, Talons, Shapes and Deaf Havana and received airtime on a few national radio stations," and if that's the current lifespan of the band, that makes this EP, released in May of last year, a snapshot of Lower Lands very early on indeed. It sounds like it, too, in terms of production, or lack thereof. The songs have a raw, played-in-a-garage sound to them. It's a little charming, especially in the midst of the current trend of over-production in this type of music.

I say "this type of music" because I struggle to find a good comparison for Lower Lands. I suppose a good analogy would be a softer A Wilhelm Scream, with the same focus on vocal harmony and less on noodly riffing. At times, the music is angular and at other times, it's more straightforward. They have almost an early Bayside vibe about them, as if they can't decide how aggressive to be.

The first track, "To The Highest Bidder," begins with what I guess is the band chatting unintelligibly in the studio. The guitar then comes in as the voices cease, a reliable old riff that, while predictable, is catchy and gets the job done. The riff ends in a heavy fashion and leads into some gruff vocals a la any melodic hardcore band. The real attraction to Lower Lands begins in the next part of the song: the vocal harmony. The band's Facebook gives all of its members vocal credit (Or "vox," as they call it), but Benji Inkley, who seems to be the lead singer, really drives the band here. His voice is quite good and stands out at the front of every harmony the band does. Every song is sort of torn between these harmonies and the more aggressive bits. The second track, for example, features a great hook in its harmonies and a better riff than track one, but is dragged down by shouting reminiscent of Gallows. "Why Don't We Just Build A Cathedral?" is probably the best on the EP. The reason for this is that the band chose to forsake its tumorous aggression for most of it, leaving only its great sense of melody. According to their band camp, they've chosen to re-record it for their upcoming EP on I Am Mighty Records, a wise decision, as with a little tweaking it could be a real ear worm.

Ultimately, Lower Lands flirt with being an aggressive post-hardcore band, but sound much better at their most melodic moments. The only song out of the four that falls flat is the last of them, "Shouting At Josey Wales," which is the most aggressive of all of them. From what I've heard of their next EP, they've decided to stick more to what they're good at and accentuate the harmonies and angular riffs, so here's hoping future releases from Lower Lands are as good as this EP hints they will be.