v.4.1 :: 12.07.09
hozomeen / cdt hozomeen / cdt
March 27th, 2011 at 4:29 pm by admin

The trouble with perfectionism is the flip-side of its greatest attribute: things can take forever to finish, but the results, when (or if) they’re finally ready, are usually worth waiting for.

Low-Beam’s debut LP would have been worth it at twice the wait.

After releasing EPs in 2002 and 2004, the New London band spent more than four years making “Charge of the Light Brigade” (Cosmodemonic Telegraph) with Enfield producer and notorious perfectionist Michael Deming, who is known for meticulous attention to detail on gorgeous-sounding albums by the Pernice Brothers, Beachwood Sparks and the Lilys, among others.

There is indeed sparkling sonic clarity on “Charge of the Light Brigade,” though it wouldn’t mean as much if the songs weren’t so good. But they are: the band balances these 11 tunes among warm guitars, vivid keyboard lines and stand-out melodies layered in prismatic vocal harmonies from guitarist Charles James and keyboard player Jaimee Weatherbee.

They sing together with easy grace, sharing and alternating lead parts on the verses and turning the choruses into soaring vocal showcases, particularly on “Skullcrusher” and “Fathom,” where their voices ride a wave of bright, jangling guitars.

There’s a touch of ’80s shoegaze influence in the gently chugging guitars on “Airstream” and the dreamy bass line from Rich Martin that rises and falls on “Parabellum,” and James and Weatherbee sing a melody on “Tuffy Rhodes” with a gentle, sing-song lullaby quality that contrasts with a series of jagged, roiling guitar breaks.

The extended record-making process took its toll: drummer Rich Freitas left the band before “Charge of the Light Brigade” was complete (Doug Hodges succeeded him). Even so, the band’s dogged perseverance and a considerable amount of talent have resulted in a breathtaking full-length debut . Let’s just hope the second LP comes more easily.

Review by Eric Danton, Hartford Courant

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