Lowlights Further/Free

The frequency of which Lowlights release albums is kind of fitting considering the music they make. Of course, the fact that singer Dameon Waggoner is also a member of another band (Big Eagle) contributes to that, but their slow-paced, Southwestern rock hardly suggests vigour. Their 2005 release, Dark End Road, was one of the year's hidden gems, and the follow-up, Further/Free, takes them even farther into the desert. It has a darker, duskier take than before, and is actually more straightforward than their earlier albums, which had some more interesting undertones. There's definitely a touch of Calexico mixed in with the twang, but ultimately they are definitely a country band these days ― as they say themselves, more the Band than the Church. It might be a natural progression for Lowlights, but there's also uniformity to the album, which means by the halfway point it has settled down comfortably and doesn't want to budge. That means no surprises and no matter how atmospheric the songs are there is something lacking. Further/Free might be beautifully crafted, but scratching below the surface doesn't reveal much of anything. (Darla)