|Lowell — Lone Wolf (April 6, 2018)|
Lowell — Lone Wolf (April 6, 2018)
••• Canadian alt~pop singer~songwriter based in Toronto.
Location: Calgary, Alberta ~ Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Album release: April 6, 2018
Record Label: Arts & Crafts
01. War Face 3:21
02. Bitter Rivals 3:37
03. Runaways 4:00
04. Lone Wolf 3:24
05. Vegas 3:43
06. No Talk 2:30
07. Bang Bang 3:23
08. Ghosts 4:22
09. Cut The Cord 4:39
10. Wintersleep 3:58
By Ashley Hampson, Published Apr 06, 2018; Score: 8
••• In the four years since the release of her acclaimed debut, We Loved Her Dearly, singer~songwriter Lowell has been a chameleon of sorts, embracing myriad sounds and styles, and outfitting each subsequent release in a new energy. After wading through saccharin pop ballads and a few instances of electropop on albums prior, her sophomore effort, Lone Wolf, is her most fierce and innovative yet.
••• The album starts off remarkably strong, with three tracks that hit like a slap in the face, with heavy percussion, enormous arcs of guitar, and powerful keys. “War Face,” “Bitter Rivals” and “Runaways” could float the entire album if need be, but Lone Wolf surprises by working with alt~pop (heavy on the alt) that’s still enmeshed in dance floor throwdowns and brilliant melodies.
••• Lowell pushes the theme of self~discovery on Lone Wolf, bridging the divide between youth and maturity while examining it all through the lens of her past teenage self. And while you can expect to hear a few clichés in the mix, for the most part Lowell’s lyrics are poignant punches thrown by individual experience while filling universal space. “Bang Bang” drips with a high school angst I think most of us can get behind, even decades later; Lowell cuts through the chorus with the lyrics “the shit we do for love, it’s sick.”
••• Winding down, the album scales back on the ferocity and ushers in a raw, exposed soundscape, not losing its bite, but relying more on vocal prowess and stripped~down instrumentals to convey the same self~portrait. Lone Wolf is more than just your ordinary pop album. (Arts & Crafts) ••• https://exclaim.ca/
Artist Biography by Timothy Monger
• Lowell is a Canadian indie pop singer~songwriter based in Toronto. Born Elizabeth Lowell Boland in Calgary, she traveled widely across Canada and the U.S. before ending up at the University of Toronto. After leaving school to follow her muse, she was brought to the attention of Ron Sexsmith’s manager Michael Dixon, who passed her music on to Swedish producer Martin Terefe. When she traveled to London to work with Terefe on her own music, he ended up recruiting her to contribute to his own project, the European supergroup Apparatjik. The resulting EP, released in 2012, was called If You Can, Solve This Jumble. The collaboration introduced Lowell to a broad, international audience as she joined the group for performances in Europe. Her own debut EP, I Killed Sara V., arrived in early 2014 and was produced by Terefe. Her first LP, We Loved Her Dearly, followed later that year on Canadian indie Arts + Crafts.
••• Lowell. Her name stems from the French word ‘wolf’ and her new record Lone Wolf embodies the spirit of name. A definitive moment in her still young career, this album proves Lowell is one of the most fearless, commanding and multi~talented artists of her generation.
••• In 2014, it was the juxtaposition of sweet pop melodies and pointed political content that brought attention to We Loved Her Dearly, Lowell’s critically acclaimed debut. Her follow up, Lone Wolf, stands alone, finding a place where both youth and maturity exist harmoniously. This is what makes Lowell’s much~anticipated sophomore release so compelling. While still as dynamic and spirited as its predecessor, Lowell more powerfully explores themes of self~discovery — this time distilled through the lens of her teenage self. The singer~songwriter~producer returned to her past by drawing inspiration from lyrics she’d written in her youth, a process that became less about emphasizing her own teenage perspective and more about the realization that as an adult you can still celebrate how powerful young people can be — especially as we watch teens and twenty~somethings assert their power by fighting against the current political climate.
••• Lone Wolf is also a celebration of who Lowell is now: a mature and accomplished songwriter who in the last few years has not only written for Icona Pop, Dragonette, Netsky, and Grandtheft, but has also had a strong hand in developing Canada’s newest rising star, 18 year~old Bülow. Lowell has accomplished all of this while writing her own impressive ten song body of work. The album encompasses what Lowell has proven she does best: a masterful pop record in disguise, replete with energetic percussion, heavy toms, and soaring vocals.
••• The album starts with the relentless battle rhythm of “War Face,” which draws in listeners with its anthemic chorus and upbeat, clever production. “Bang Bang” features Lowell’s distorted voice declare “The shit we do for love, it’s sick” — the production of the track is reckless but the lyrics leave you feeling the opposite. “Bitter Rivals” reflects the mania of stumbling upon an adversary, and the idea that we can all relate too.
••• The album’s title~track is a ballad of pure revelation steeped in the excitement and loneliness that comes with realizing you’re not like everybody else. “And I feel so human, but I’m not human at all,” she sings, effectively transporting us back to our childhood bedrooms, where most of us at one point felt the same.
••• Even though the album revels in its driving and danceable pop, it is these more subdued and tender moments that truly show the maturity of this collection of songs. “Ghosts” and “Cut the Cord” are where she really peels back the curtain lyrically and becomes more than ever, not the wolf, nor the indie pop star, or the bisexual ex~stripper feminist, but Lowell the person. Lowell reminds us of the big picture, that despite everything, from our life’s endeavors, to our politics; in the end, “you and I will eventually just fade away like ghosts.” Lowell recognizes this, she is aware that in the end we all become irrelevant. Across the album, the lyrics remind listeners that young people are worth listening to; that they are strong, resilient, and free of the cynicism that tends to define adulthood.
••• It takes guts for an artist to be unequivocally true to themselves; to peel back defenses and celebrate the person you were and the person you are now. Lone Wolf is an expression of acceptance: a mature stance of knowing she might always be a square peg in a round hole. We like it better this way. Her decision not to follow the trends of indie pop and to produce a record that focuses on what matters to her most — the songs — is what makes this record, and Lowell as an artist, so beautifully timeless.
• We Loved Her Dearly (2014, Arts & Crafts)
• I Killed Sarah V.
• Lone Wolf (April 6, 2018)
|Lowell — Lone Wolf (April 6, 2018)|