Low Roar's self-titled album is the debut solo product of Ryan Karazija, formerly of Audrye Sessions. Low Roar's sound and vibe brings to mind bands like Other Lives, Radiohead (the mellower side), and if James Blake had collaborated with Just Vernon on For Emma, Forever Ago (but James Blake was still a nobody so Vernon only took on bits and pieces of his influence). There are the occasional electronic beats and some auto-tuning but it still has a feel to it that I have not experienced since I first heard For Emma.
Speaking of Justin Vernon and Bon Iver, Karazija embarked on a somewhat similar journey in creating this album, albeit much further geographically. While Vernon holed-up in a cabin in Wisconsin, Karazija moved from San Francisco, CA to Reykjavik, Iceland. This trek and the subsequent toll it took on his life built the foundation for the hauntingly beautiful songs of Low Roar. Opening track and current single "Give Up" sets the tone with lyrics of sadness and downright melancholia right off the bat with 'I won't wake a wealthy man someday 'cause the sun don't follow me.'
There is so much more life and emotion to Low Roar, though. "Just a Habit" with its Radioheadish (think In Rainbows) acoustic guitar work. Then "Nobody Else" is where you pick up the James Blake vibe with the auto-tuned singing and overall electronicness. Album closer "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" (not to be confused with the Smashing Pumpkins song that was also involved with some melancholy as well as some sadness) is another standout track. It is an epic climax to this album that, albeit still haunting, will have you bobbing your head or tapping your feet, fingers, a pen, whatever you have access to. At times it feels like you're in a medieval movie but can hear the soundtrack...and there's a dope beat. I just hope for the sake of all our ears he isn't talking to us as he closes the album with "No, I ain't gonna be here too long....too long."
PS: I am currently in love with this album.
Check out the beautifully well-done video for "Give Up" below:
You can also check out "Just a Habit" below. And no, that is not a picture of Ryan....