THE LOW ANTHEM
Most characters in the Low Anthem’s songs are crawling toward death. Sure, you could say that about all of us, but there’s a sense of imminent demise in Ben Knox Miller’s songs and particularly in the way he sings them. On their follow-up to 2009’s breakthrough Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, the Low Anthem get moody, gloomy, and downright melancholic at times. Whether singing “Ghost Woman Blues” or promising “I’ll Take Out Your Ashes,” Miller leads his band through a ghostly stroll that’s part hippie contemplation, part folk-rock revival. Like the Band, the Low Anthem’s four instrumentalists squeeze an orchestra of sounds out of their tight little setup: wheezing organs, gliding saws, shuffling percussion. Combined with Miller’s croaky whisper, Smart Flesh is the sound of quiet desperation.