The Sword – ‘Low Country’ (Razor & Tie Records) Print
CD Reviews
Written by Nick Russell   
Monday, 21 November 2016 03:00

The Sword - Low CountryWhen Atlanta’s The Sword released their excellent album ‘High Country’ last year, there was a slight change to their musical style. The doom stoner aspect was toned down for a more southern rock tinged sound but not to the point where it was out of place amongst their back catalogue. With the new album, ‘Low Country’, they’ve gone even further, with a totally stripped back acoustic reworking of ten of the tracks from ‘High Country’.

 

The intro ‘Unicorn Farm’ is all bluegrass slide guitar before the brushed drums and acoustic strumming of ‘Empty Temples’ comes in, bringing back memories of those great MTV Unplugged sets from the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains. The title track itself is a mellow trip with accompanying bongos and female vocals in the chorus. The shuffling ‘Mist and Shadow’ is one of the best tracks here, showing how an acoustic version can make a tune sound almost like a different song.

 

And this is even truer with ‘Early Snow’, the only track here with proper drums. The whole song has a real electrified funk groove, including a horn section, giving the song a totally different feel. The next track, ‘The Dreamthieves’, sounds more like the Eagles, with the multiple vocal harmonies. ‘Buzzards’ has an electro backing beat to it that makes it sound more like an 80’s song. ‘Ghost Eye’, not unlike the earlier ‘Seriously Mysterious’, has that real Alice In Chains Unplugged feel to it. The album closes with the gentle mandolin riff of ‘The Bees Of Spring’.

 

This album works so well because the band made the conscious move away from the heavier stoner doom sound with ‘High Country’, the songs suit the acoustic treatment.

 

Sometimes, the simple approach is the best way, and this more pure naked run-through of some great songs works really well, a quality release for those times when you want something a bit mellow.

 

Sip some good ol’ whiskey and kick back in the ‘Low Country’.

 

'Low Country' is out now.

 

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