The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depths Of The Sea is the fifth album by The Low Anthem. From their origins as folk revivalists through to their last album, Eyeland (2016), being wildly experimental, this is a subtle yet resolute effort that reins in the experiments. Here, they combine the folky sound of their early days with electronic instruments to produce a work that is as natural as it is visionary.
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There are fond memories in my heart for the Low Anthem’s history of recording antics -- an abandoned pasta factory here, a forgotten cinema there -- that make me want to invest in their music the way they do. Driven by music’s panoramic potential, the band developed their softer, folksier early days into something more full of life, as if growing a band like a plant from its roots. The hideously titled ‘The Salt Doll Went to Measure the Depth of the Sea’ considers both the newfound grandiosity of their sound and the beauty that comes from tempering it.
These songs -- always short but never sparse -- offer some of the Low Anthem’s loveliest work yet. It’s as simple as that, really, even if constructing it wasn’t; “River Brine” is full of debris acoustic and electronic, eventually fading away with its numb beat still passing underfoot. “Give My Body Back” sounds like a Simon & Garfunkel song given the treatment of Sufjan Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty artists -- its soft, momentary passings of piano and woodwind make me think of the homely additives of Angelo de Augustine, all alone but getting it together.
It might be the easiest of recent Low Anthem records to digest, even if there are parts of it that still show their experimental resilience: “The Krill Whistle Their Fight Song” is full of electronic warps and shuttering drum machines, squirming its way through to the light. Mostly, though, this record feels like one long paean -- one lovely, hummed song rendered in different environments to see if it can survive them. It's gorgeous, and it's worth your time.
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- The Salt Doll Went to Measure the Depths of the Sea by The Low Anthem
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