Daniel and Lauren Goans, the duo known as Lowland Hum, have always remained true to all their name implies, indulging in lowcast songs etched in a shoegaze motif. In that regard, their "Glyphonic" is really no different than any of their previous entries, given that it unfolds as a series of soft serenades, each ushered in through a steady strum of acoustic guitars and hushed harmonies that echo through repeated refrains. It's precious, but pervasive, and on songs such as "Salzburg Summer," "Will You Be," "Raise the Ring" and "Eye in the Sky," the tender trappings suggest a fragile finesse that's clearly capable of seducing the listener each and every time.
The fact that Lowland Hum don't preen or posture all but guarantees they'll remain well below the radar, at least as far as the greater masses are concerned. Indeed, tracks like "W/Sam" and "Waite" are so delicate and demure that one has to lean in and listen to absorb the full effect. Even the lyrics add to the ethereal glow, all of it flush with a certain waif-like wonderment. Take this snippet from the descriptively dubbed "A Drive Through the Countryside": "A drive through the country/To soothe the mind/An emerald field is a sight for sore eyes." Or this, from the sobering "In Darkness": "Forest of my mind/Calm and slow and know comfort of the darkness." If it sounds like Tolkien and Tolstoy joined in equal measure, it also affirms the lofty ambiance to that they aspire to in a great degree.
Ultimately, "Glyphonic" is an album that projects its delicate demeanor though a coo, a caress and a subtle stride. It's affecting in a decidedly unassuming way, an ideal example of how less can be more, especially when a lofty perspective is the obvious intent. Mood music of the highest order, Lowland Hum's subtle strokes make for maximum appeal.
Lee Zimmerman is a freelance writer and author based in Maryville, Tenn. He also expounds on music on his web site, Stories Beyond the Music - Americana Music Reviews, Interviews & Articles. His book "Americana Music - Voices, Visionaries and Pioneers of an Honest Sound" is available from Texas A&M University Publishing.