Envy On The Coast have always struck me has a really electric band, incredibly spontaneous with tempo shifts that hampered their ability to make a really solid album. Lucy Gray had its moments of spectacular songs, but overall left me less than satisfied. Enter the band’s new album Lowcountry, have they been able to bottle that lightning and use it to their advantage this time around?
The answer is a most definite yes, the band has come along way from their first album. Not only has the production improved, the band’s ability to write insanely infectious songs has come along way. Not the kind of catchy though that will wear you out after the tenth listen, but the good kind that grows on you after a long time that really sticks with you. Case in point, “The Great American T-Shirt Racket” at first listen may not sound like the catchiest affair, but after time you can see it as a potential radio single, and the band’s strongest (almost pop like) hook that wraps around you after multiple listens.
On their debut album, it was sometimes hard to hear lead vocalist’s Ryan Hunter’s voice as it sometimes became to nasally to listen to after a while. But in this album, it shows that he has come a long way vocally. Whether it be in the soft crooning of “Made Of Stone”, or the light, innocent melodies of “Like I Do.” Not only is his voice is improved, now you can’t get it out of your head.
Of course the band hasn’t lost that explosive charge that made them sound like a less mellow sounding Incubus, from the explosive mind-blowing chorus of “Clean Of You”, or the punch of gang vocals on “Puritan Dirt Song”. The band still has a clear knack for making songs that can shift from tempo to tempo almost seamlessly.
Lowcountry also takes more political tones, like the lyrics of “Head First In The River” which go “we’re the ones who you paid to see a piece of my soul for your money/and it’s my job, to smile while pigs feast/ swallows slop out of the head of a crooked priest,” the more political tones of their lyrics really helps develop their sound and makes them even more pleasing to listen to. This album isn’t something that at first you’ll see yourself playing over and over again, but with time and appreciation, every song will get stuck in your head and you’ll find yourself humming along to them in the car. Not only a band that could fit on alternative radio, but one that could do it while retaining their pride and core fanbase.