Nine years ago Lower Than Atlantis released their second full length album. Probing at the perils and pitfalls that come with getting older, we look back on 'World Record' and how it taught us to be okay with the process of growing up.
They often say that growing up is a drag. The transition from adolescent to adulthood is a slow, painful, unforgiving trip littered with responsibilities and realisations. The warm blanket of your teenage years is yanked from over you and you're left cold and alone in the big adult world out there. It’s sad but it’s true. This unavoidable journey into the real world has been a subject of interest for musicians the world over for years, with everyone trying their best to condense all those emotions into three minutes of audio output. Yet very few have hit the nail on the head quite like Lower Than Atlantis did back in 2011 with ‘World Record’ - an album that continues to soundtrack a thousand blossomings.
But first, a little context.
Lower Than Atlantis had been making some serious waves across the UK and Europe in the years leading up to ‘World Record’. Fast, furious and frank, the quartet had become renowned for their chaotic live shows and devil-may-care attitude. Debut album ‘Far Q’ had pricked up plenty of ears with its witty retorts and scrappy punk-rock intensity, and the the stage was set for something special. Yet rather than more of the same, the band dialled things back, tightened up their loose bits and delivered a set of songs that nobody could have seen coming.
The thing that sticks out about LTA’s second effort more than anything that came before it is it's crystal clear honesty. From the desolating artwork, which depicts the barren and depressing contents of the subject’s pockets, through to the lyrical turns of phrase littered throughout, Mike Duce paints a dark picture about what is to come as you get older. Using his own personal experience and knack for penning an irresistible hook, he details everything from how life on and off the road in a band effects your mental health through to dealing with the various fallouts that come with love and relationships. Sometimes it’s pretty easy listening, like on the fish pun-laden ‘Deadliest Catch’ and exhilaratingly inspiring ‘(Motor) Way Of Life’. Sometimes though it’s much harder to swallow, such as on the slow burning ‘Another Sad Song’ and relatable ‘High At Five’. It all hits very close to home whether you want it to or not.
It’s difficult to really put in to words what growing up actually feels like. Everybody’s experiences are different and everybody starts and finishes on different paths. Yet Lower Than Atlantis managed to find the middle ground. They penned an album that stuck with everyone who let it into their ears in some way, shape or form and let people know that they aren’t alone in their anxieties. It helped us realise that everything is not always straight forward, everybody is not always happy and things don't always go to plan and that's ok. There is not a blueprint for life. We all have to fill in the gaps ourselves. Yet when you're able to find that bit of assistance and assurance, it makes marking things out that little bit easier.
Nine years later and Lower Than Atlantis are no more, calling it a day last May with a trio of massive shows. Yet the music that they leave behind is testament to what an important band they were not just for the British scene but also for the British youth. Even when they are gone, the stories and the sentiments that they mapped out will continue to inspire, guide and assure all those who let them into their lives. That is something that cannot be taken for granted.