A True Supergroup
When listeners see the star power stacked on Lo Tom, their minds are sure to be blown. The band is made up of TW Walsh and David Bazan from Pedro the Lion, and Trey Many and Jason Martin from Starflyer 59. This star power alone, however, is not the only thing that makes the group’s new record great. Their self-titled debut is abounding with sincerity and fun, causing listeners to sense the enjoyment these four musicians experienced while recording this.
While Lo Tom contains only eight tracks, the band waste no time in immersing the listener into their world. The album explodes into noise with the first track, “Covered Wagon.” Bazan sings with clarity, while the soundscape is drenched in fuzzy guitar and drums. Lo Tom’s songs do not differ much in sound, but their lack of distinction allows the listener to easily go from track to track, as the songs melt into one another. The gloomy “Bubblegum” dissolves into “Bad Luck Charm,” where the band take cues from Sonic Youth and Neutral Milk Hotel with their use of repetitive minor chords. “Find the Shrine” offers some pretty interesting introspective lyrics combined with destructive images like, “Down comes the mountain / lookin’ for a clue for something true about me / for something true about you.” For a brief ten-to-fifteen seconds, Bazan channels some serious Eddie Vedder and sings indecipherable lyrics in a low growl. The band switch it up slightly with “Pretty Cool” where they slow things down slightly and quiet the instrumentals. On “Another Mistake,” the guitar and Bazan’s vocals harmonize a bit to lead the song down a pop/noise road before ending abruptly with the lyric, “I’ve made another mistake,” cutting out just before Bazan says the F word. “Lower Down” returns to a Sonic Youth-esque jam and ends the record on a perfect ’90s indie note.
What makes this album so enjoyable is the fact that it sounds like four friends jamming out. All competing creativity is discarded and the music produced sounds very much like a jam album where someone accidentally stumbled in and began recording.