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Lowland Hum

Native Air – 2013 (Lowland Hum)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Lowland Hum

Most albums can be classified in one of two ways, either as Saturday night record - meaning music of a more robust nature - or a Sunday morning record - which translates into a sublime sound. In Lowland Hum's case, it would seem to fall into the latter category, but with a caveat. These are melodies so sobering and subdued, it would seem the best analogy would be a Sunday morning hangover.

"Native Hum," the product of North Carolina husband and wife duo Daniel Levi Goans and Lauren Planl Goans, could be likened to a dead certain party-killer, and while that's not intended as a putdown, it does reflect its decidedly somber soundscape. "These songs were written primarily during our first year of marriage and recorded in the months surrounding our first anniversary," the duo declares on their website. "Many moments within this album document aspects of our search for unity, wholeness, and shared identity," they continue.

One can only imagine that they spent their time in a meditative haze and gazing at their navels or were perhaps so content with matrimonial status, they had no need to shake the rafters. The arrangements encompass only harmonies and acoustic guitars, and there's not a trace of tempos until the slapdash rhythms come into play on Albatross, the fifth track in. But even that mild pulse doesn't linger long, and the forlorn approach - so evident in songs like Eden (Part One, the aptly titled When the World Sleeps and White Stone -- casts an pervasive pall over the album overall.

Credit Lowland Hum from staying true to their name, given their hushed laments and downcast disposition. You probably wouldn't extend them an invitation to help celebrate your Saturday night, but when you need someone to soothe your spirits the morning after, there couldn't be a better choice.