“Lower Dens: The Beast That Ate Music in 2012”

The major impression made first by Nootropics, this year’s album from Lower Dens, is one of dub/electronica, calling to mind the Gang Gang Dance song “Inner Pace.” After that, in “Alphabet Song,” Pink Floyd emerges as a primary influence, with the synth riff, psychedelic and dissonant. If Nootropics fails to reach John Talabot’s height of brilliance, it’s because they’re too occidental — too in love with the perils of depravity, conveyed in soothing strains, both geographically and affectively entrenched between Pink Floyd and The Doors.
And appropriately enough, “The End” is the main force, or the main outside force, behind “In the End is the Beginning,” the album’s closer. It’s a little too real of a song to even write about, but suffice it to say it’s very genuine, inspirational, haunting music that concludes an album full of great hooks like those of Glasser, older Beach House, Warpaint, etc. Califone is a band that according to critics, at their best moments, roll all western musical statements into one hodgepodge. This is how I think of Lower Dens, more so. A strong sense of theory, and knack for climax, along with this rich, labyrinthine internalization of rock’s canon, helps Nootropics to blow away listeners, and unite the universe, singing to the raccoons, or maybe just making you feel like an animal.

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