Keeping a finger on the pulse

Low Roar

Sirens are ringing all around – Low Roar

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I wanna feel something again memorable sings Ryan Karazija, the frontman of the Iceland based electronic project called Low Roar. I also want to experience something remarkable, that’s why I took the opportunity to watch Low Roar live at Húrra on March 12th. Half a year has crept by since this band played onstage here in Reykjavík – not including Iceland Airwaves. This is what you get in this town once they spread their wings. I have experienced more or less memorable shows of this trio currently consisting of mentioned before Karazija, Leifur Björnsson (programming) and Logi Guðmundsson (drums) – but this one show turned out to be far better than simply good. And it’s not that easy to me to admit that there are still some artists that are able to turn me inside out.

I was witness the brilliant metamorphosis of the butterfly called Low Roar that combines dreamy folk with electronic music. Appearing on the scene as a caterpillar – an acoustic project with a voice and a guitar and quite personal lyrics. Material for the sophomore album entitled 0 (has a face on the cover) was shaping up. It was quite a difference to see Low Roar solo and acoustic around Christmas 2013 at Lucky Records music store, then at Sonar Festival with equipment and an entire band – even accompanied by Mike Lindsay (known of Tuung, also co-producer of the second album of Low Roar) as the second acoustic guitar. They are ready, I thought then. Ready to go abroad and spread their dramatic beauty.

After a year spent intensively touring both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Low Roar arrived home on the stage of Húrra. Here is a powerful trinity. From the first seconds the band created a delicate and touching mood. They blew me away. Finally I realized why it is better to close your eyes while listening to Low Roar. You immediately saturate your soul in the music and your inner world with such a fragile soundtrack that it will soothe you while you get lost in a sonic fog of the singer’s voice. You get a kick of power along with rhythm of thumping drums during the highlights of the show. Effortlessly the band embroidered the entire set with a quaint melancholy transitioning smoothly from one composition to another without even a noticeable shift between them. How could you be not pleased after hearing Breath In or Easy Way Out with its drumming outro that shows you way to I’ll keep coming with that slowly built and well-crafted percussion that sneaks under your skull and buzzes there for a long time? Happily, it sounds even better live than on the record and could even give you goosebumps. Anything you need will haunt you with Ryan Karazija’s voice and the song turns slightly into a colder almost industrial mood of Vampire on my fridge that will make you dance a bit. Well, if you are able to wobble in such a crowded room. There’s always an option to dance like Hattifatteners. Then came a change of dynamic with Dreamer and it got much darker because of following Tonight tonight tonight. The further you go in the set, the darker and heavier it gets.

Low Roar takes the music to various directions. Their live shows are entrancing and tremendously emotional. Always on the high level. They just unconsciously guide you through turning upside down toward catharsis. So why not to check something truly memorable when the guys come to town?

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Stína has followed her passion to Icelandic music as a music journalist since 2010. She joined then a writing team of Muzyka Islandzka - a Polish website dedicated to Icelandic music. Spreading her wings, Stína started her adventure with Icelandic language and moved to Reykjavík where she studied the language at the university. She also takes an active part in life of the local music scene. Since 2014 Stína had run a music blog that was transformed in 2017 into a printed magazine on Icelandic music.

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