Lower Automation’s new release Shoebox Companion sounds like the product of efforts to push music as far as possible. The six track production is the band’s second, coming a few years after their initial EP, called Maps.
The band goes the mathcore direction, with frenzied technical playing that cycles through over and over again as if the band is seeing just how much playing they can fit in. It’s almost hard to believe that there are only three guys forming this outfit, but lo and behold, that’s the case.
The band members seem more dedicated to pushing their playing to its physical limit than they are to being “heavy.” In that regard, they are a step apart from a band like The Dillinger Escape Plan – but they are also a step apart from more artsy technical bands, finding a perfect middle ground to grow on.
They pack incredibly intense chaos and fury into six highly accessible, highly polished, and well produced tracks. Through their inviting swirl of noise, the band has made something that’s their own and is attractive. There’s something special about the sense of mastery of chaos; the band’s got it, and listeners can participate in the experience via the album.
Listening to the album feels at once furious and cathartic; while melodic ideas dart left and right, perfect apparent control is maintained by the musicians, almost giving that calming sense provided by acoustic music and the like.
In that, Lower Automation has done something special and unique with the noise rock/mathcore that they’re playing. They sound like they decided to exert more obvious control over it than some in the same community, turning it into an exercise in seeing just how far noise rock can be pushed. The band proves on their new album that it can be turned away from something that is solely dark and heavy and into something musically reminiscent of artsy post-hardcore. They’ve combined the two, via their furious playing and clean vocals driven smoothness component, in a memorable mixture that could seriously inform understandings of their side of the music community.