A band that’s risen through the UK toilet circuit signing to a major label is always regarded as a big thing, and there’s little doubt that Lower Than Atlantis putting to pen to paper with Island Records was one of the most talked about “scene graduations” of recent years.
Despite the fact that some have bemoaned a “softening” of the sound found on ‘Far Q’, Mike Duce and his merry men have seen their audience grow exponentially over the last few years, and there’s little doubt that the band are more comfortable with a more straight up alt-rock sound rather than in the stylistic hardcore no man’s land that set them on the path they find themselves on today.
It should be no surprise then that ‘Changing Tune’ is a natural follow up to ‘World Record’, and as an exercise in building on the foundations, it’s everything it should be. The band wear the influences that they have on their sleeve (they’d certainly be the first to admit that the Foo Fighters are right up there) but there’s little doubt that the band have a sound pretty much all to themselves. The slower moments (see: ‘Scared Of The Dark’) still don’t quite suit Duce’s vocal as those with grittier backing (see: ‘Normally Strange’), but that’s not to call the vocal weak – Duce is instantly recognisable as a sort of post-hardcore Morrissey meets Carter, and the delivery is very much the icing on the cake of the band’s appeal.
The two versions of the album available differ in length by twenty minutes, and the final trim of the record might actually have benefited from a reshuffle. The chunky 56 minutes of the “deluxe” version actually carries some of the better efforts in its extra five tracks (see: ‘Time Flies’), but a band like Lower Than Atlantis suffering from having too many songs for a record seldom seems a bad thing when they’ve established a fan base as loyal as theirs.
All that said, you get the feeling throughout ‘Changing Tune’ that many will look back on the record as the band’s last before hitting full stride – they’ve started to run with the sound that they’re comfortable with, but there’s certainly another gear that they can go up on the next record to really “fuck it to the man” and make a truly classic British rock record on their own terms.
If you’re wondering whether the band have returned to a ‘Far Q’ sound, ‘Changing Tune’ is not for you. If you’re looking for a well balanced record full of harmony and solid instrumentation, from a band that’s confident and has plenty to say, then look no further.