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The Brought Low – Third Record (Small Stone)

6 March 2010

There are a lot of retro-minded guitar bands who plunder the pre-punk 70s for nuggets of gold, but few quite as deft and inspired as the BROUGHT LOW are on Third Record. While most of these acts drink deeply from only one or two mugs, the New York City trio slakes its thirst from several sources: the Detroit fury of the MC5 and the STOOGES, the American roots-infused grooves of the ROLLING STONES, the lighter-waving dynamics of LYNYRD SKYNYRD, the big hooks of the arena rock hordes from the early part of the Me Decade. Even better, the band mixes and matches freely, playing various iterations of rock & roll less as style-jumping and more as a continuum. Add leader BENJAMIN HOWARD SMITH‘s smart, soulful writing and gritty twang (aggressive but never macho) and the result is the rip-roaring rock of “Old Century” and “Matthew’s Grave,” the slow bluesy burn of “Blow Out Your Candles” and “You’re My Favorite Waste of Time” and the soulful balladry of “Last Man Alive” and “A Thousand Miles Away.” Previous albums have been excellent, but Third Record takes the group to a whole ‘nother level, indisputably placing the Brought Low in the ranks of the Great American Bands.


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