The Brought Low are:
Nick Heller: drums
Robert Russell: bass and backing vocals
Benjamin Howard Smith: lead vocals and guitar
Eric Oblander: harmonica on "Blow Out Your Candles"
Dave Unger: organ on "Slow Your Roll."
Produced, mixed and engineered by Andrew Schneider at Translator Audio, Brooklyn NY.
Additional recording by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios, Allston MA and Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio, Ann Arbor MI.
Mastered by Chris Goosman, Baseline Audio.
Artwork and design by Morning Breath, Inc.
A cool Southern Rock band from Brooklyn, USA. With a lot of drive and authenticity. This is music directly from the heart! Some classic guitar sounds, some ZZ Top and Lynrd Skynyrd comparisons, a good singer and good songs. Some Blues Rock, some Dixie stuff. Do you want more? Do we need more? This is music directly out of their hearts. That feeling you will get every second on that record. All that retro and classic Rock fans should check that band out. Songs like OLD CENTURY, EVERYBODY LOVES A WHORE or the relaxed A THOUSAND MILES AWAY are a true and good output and got written to take a long ride with your car on a hot afternoon. This is not the music I prefer. And it it nothing for my player, but I think a lot of Rock fans will dig that sound! Great band, great songs, great output on a great label!
Detroit's Small Stone Records, owned and managed by outspoken rock 'n' roll aficionado (and Luder guitarist) Scott Hamilton, has been pumping out quality '70s-esque hard rock for nigh 15 years. Few Small Stone bands are local, but Hamilton has a knack for finding dirty, sludgy and perhaps even "Detroit" sounding bands in other cities.
Brooklyn's the Brought Low are a great example. Brooding and bluesy, the band abandons New York trust-fund pretension in favor of honest introspection and old-fashioned rock 'n' roll songwriting.
There's a bit of an Oasis-y favor to songs such as "Old Century," while the painfully beautiful "A Thousand Miles Away" suggests Humble Pie at their most melodic. The band gets its groove on with "My Favorite Waste of Time," albeit at its own sluggish pace. Third Record is a gritty and dusty, yet undeniably pretty, rock 'n' roll record, and there ain't a bad song on the thing. You can't ask for more than that these days.
- Brett Callwood
Renowned NYC power trio The Brought Low have returned after a five-year studio hiatus to unleash a bare bones rock ‘n roll record with the fittingly no frills title of THIRD RECORD. Infusing jolting surges of Southern rock hospitality into gritty blues-rock paradigms peppered with twang of country is what this band specializes in and truly delivers in spades here (“Slow Your Roll”, “Old Century”), yet songs like the acoustic stomp “A Thousand Miles Away” and the somber shuffle “Last Man Alive” strips the usually thick and meaty band’s sound down considerably but still manages to come off as cranked to 11. Fusing a Black Crowes-esque smoothness, a stoner rock swagger and a majestic ‘70s hard rock rumble, this nine-track record is lean, mean, and bad to the bone and rocks with refreshing efficiency and a rolled-up sleeves sense of organic intensity that screams retro in all the right ways.
- Mike SOS
I rank this as the best of the most recent batch of Small Stone Records I've had the privilege of reviewing. Stoner rock frequently finds itself divided between retro-vibe psyche-jam rock and heavy nu school ball-kicking, big-riff hard blues rock (and that's not even diving into all the doom subgenres). The Brought Low ably bridge the gap with music that deftly blends the retrogroove stuff that sounds like an awesome revamp of the goodness alive in the 70s with the heady bigness of contemporary hard rock stonerisms. This aptly titled third effort by The Brought Low is an excellent starting point for those who've not heard the band. The diversity allowed them by the genre is layered in on itself, with old school influences rolling down alongside the heavy blues-based hard rock riff chunking, though sometimes taking turns, as well. Whatever the case, The Brought Low have found a corner of their own in this field of music and it's a corner whose shadows are worth shining some light into.
- Upchuck Undergrind
In times in which it seems as if heavy music becomes more darker each day, it's good to know that THE BROUGHT LOW are still around. That is the kind of music that cheers me up on a bad day. 'Third Record' is the band's second full-length for Small Stone Records, but of course the third one in their career which started in 1999. Not much has changed actually, and there was definitely no reason for doing this. THE BROUGHT LOW belong to the preservers of the classic rock sound of the 1970's, and it is always a great pleasure for me to hear with what kind of a keen eye for details the band approached their albums. Almost as an afterthought, they manage over and over again to write memorable and powerful tracks.
With 'Third Record', THE BROUGHT LOW have recorded their most mature album, and I don't see a single clunker here. Each of the nine songs was written with love for details. The band transitions effortlessly between the more mellow songs and energetic rockers, and the album offers a good mixture of both. It becomes especially apparent how much 'Third Record' has in common with early Lynyrd Skynyrd and Rolling Stones during their 'Sticky Fingers' era. The good old blues is omnipresent and endlessly comes out of the album, but it also offers enough space for more influences. In particular, the first two songs 'Old Century' and 'Everybody Loves A Whore' remind me a bit of Detroit's Sonic's Rendezvous Band, because it seems as if their high energy rubbed off on THE BROUGHT LOW. But despite all obvious influences, this album bears the distinctive signature of New York's power trio. Particularly the vocals of guitarist Benjamin Howard Smith have become one of the essential and characteristic features of the band.
There is a good bit of variety on here and some notable guest appearances by the likes of Dave Unger and Eric Oblander (Five Horse Johnson). Dave Unger plays organ on 'Slow Your Roll', and 'Blow Out Your Candles' is enriched by Eric Oblander's passionate harmonica playing. What I also like very much about THE BROUGHT LOW is their relaxed and casual style, even if they pick up speed. For me personally 'Third Record' symbolizes a special kind of wisdom according to the maxim: stay cool, because life is hard enough. The album's production, for which Andrew Schneider is responsible, offers consistent Small Stone quality at the highest level. Over-all, here we have the best album by THE BROUGHT LOW so far, and worthwhile for any (classic rock) fan to check out. Recommended.
I am a fool, a complete bloody fool!!! That The Brought Low have been on the scene and have previously released two albums, their self titled debut on Tee Pee Records in 2001 and "Right On Time" on Small Stone in 2006 yet I have totally missed out on them until now is both shameful and unforgivable and I only hope I can atone for my sins with this review!!!
Kicking off with the opening one two punch of boogie opener "Old Century" and the Camarosmith/Supersuckers cow punk of "Everybody Loves a Whore" it's possible that I have been missing out on a potential favourite band right under my snotty nose. It's a cliché I know but this band does well and truly kick ass!!! The guitars burn the valves til you can almost smell them, the drums batter like a touchy drunk on a Friday night and the bass grinds like a lap dancing crack whore!!!
It isn't all piss and vinegar, "The Kelly Rose" is as fine a piece of Skynyrd meets Humble Pie southern groove as any band from New York has ever produced. This song reeks of dusty roads, cowboy boots and redneck moonshine partying!!! The high rise concrete jungle is left even further behind as "A thousand Miles Away" breaks out the acoustic and the slide and could well pass for an outtake from "Exile on Main Street" by the Stones with vocalist/guitarist Benjamin Howard Smith sounding like a younger less exaggerated Mick Jagger…a pure porch, whiskey and crickets type of tune!!! Yet another change of pace for "My favourite Waste of Time" which snakes along on a swampy yet restrained blues crawl that the Black Keys would each donate a left nutsack to have written!!!
Skynyrd and The Stones clash again on "Mathew's Grave" and inject a little funk to the mix while "Blow Out Your Candle" throws in a little Black Crowes and Faces seasoning into the sonic soup, the latter rising along on a muscular stop-start riff that just makes you want to don a denim jacket and strut!!! Strut for all you're worth!!!! Then what do you know, Eric Oblander from Five Horse Johnson puffs out his chest and blows some mean an' dirty harp (and by the way Eric we're long overdue an album…sort it out!!!).
Now southern rock ain't southern without a ballad and "Last Man Alive" is as close as we're going to get…a wistful lament that would make Skynyrd proud. I know I've mentioned Skynyrd a lot but really they are the benchmark for anyone peddling the sounds of the south and The Brought Low are worthy to be mentioned in comparison with the best of the best. It's one thing to write a kick ass rocking tune but it takes some real skill to write something more laid back and emotional without steering the tractor into a mighty barn full of cheese!!!
All too quickly "Slow Your Roll" brings things to a close with a jerking groove and some tasty organ giving this an Allman Brothers meets Ted Nugent kind of vibe…now that's a pairing I'd pay good money to see!!!
9 tracks, all killer and absolutely no filler. It's good to see a band such as The Brought Low happy to put together a reasonably short and concise album packed with the highest quality music rather than a bloated epic half full of shit. If this fits on one side on a 90 minute cassette then even better…you can play it in the cab of your old Chevy pick up!!! Album of the year? Well we have five months to go yet but this sure has put up a good argument!!!
As it says on the cover, this is the third album from New York City based outfit The Brought Low and what do we get?
A cracking Southern rock album that tips the nod towards Lynyrd Skynyrd, draws on The Black Crowes a la 'Shake Your Money Maker' and, at times, you can just picture Jagger posing and letting loose on tracks like 'A Thousand Miles Away', 'My Favourite Waste Of Time' and possibly, for me anyway, the stand out track on the album, 'Blow Out Your Candles'.
This is music for the freeway (if you were American!); drop the hood, wind in the hair and drive as fast as the speed limiter allows, 50 on most of the American roads!!! The Brought Low are made up of Nick Heller (drums), Robert Russell (bass/backing vocals) and Benjamin H Smith on lead guitar and vocals and this album follows on from 2001's self-titled release and the 2006 release 'Right On Time'. It was produced by Chris Goosman, also responsible for 'Flush' by My Uncle The Wolf - How different can two albums be?
Set out the Southern flag and nail your colours to the mast, The Brought Low deliver in spades.
- Nev Brooks
Brooklyn hard rockers the Brought Low aren't ones to rush things -- releasing but three albums over a ten-year career makes that obvious -- but they always seem to have something interesting to say when they open up their mouths, or rather tune up, plug in, and crank out their latest grooves. Released in 2010, the plainly named Third Record is no exception and its songs, by the same token, are striking models of efficiency: pure, straightforward, compact, but clearly painstakingly constructed to sound that way. More often than not on this occasion, Benjamin Howard Smith's soulful drawl and fluid guitar escort bassist Robert Russell and drummer Nick Heller way down past the Mason-Dixon Line, via Southern-flavored numbers redolent of Lynyrd and Skynyrd! For proof, just check out driving rockers like "Old Century" and "The Kelly Rose," the swampy acoustics of "A Thousand Miles Away," the heavy, heavy blues of "Blow Out Your Candles" (featuring harp from Five Horse Johnson's Eric Oblander), and the woeful lament of "Last Man Alive." But the Brought Low aren't stuck on the Southern connection entirely, and so they can also be found negotiating cross-town traffic with the stutter-riffed "Matthew's Grave," Sunday driving with the organ-infused instrumental "Slow Your Roll," or simply flooring it toward the border with "Everybody Loves a Whore." In sum, Third Record writes another intriguing, and often unpredictable, chapter in the trio's career, making it obvious why fans continue to welcome the Brought Low back, no matter how long they stay away.
- Eduardo Rivadavia
How self-effacing and down-to-earth is it to call your third record, um, Third Record? If you’re thinking that The Brought Low are making a wee nod to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Second Helping with that choice, well, you’re in for a right old treat, because The Brought Low bring that sweet Southern rock sound right on back with a due respect for purity and authenticity. No metalcore spoofing or ironic hipster reappropriation, this, but cut-crystal nostalgia perfectionism, right down to the last detail.
Third Record is music to drive your pick-up to, in other words; if you made a movie of it, you’d have to tape it with the lush saturated analog film of the early seventies and fill it with the period vehicles from Two-Lane Blacktop. The wearing of sleeveless denim jackets and battered stetsons on set would be a matter of principle; cowboy boots, mandatory. That said, as retro as The Brought Low’s music may be, and as rich a sound as they’ve captured here, Third Record upholds the Small Stone tradition of lovely production jobs, unobtrusively bringing out the richness of classic guitars, pedals and amplifiers. You know that sense of being in the room with the band you get from Back In Black? Same thing right here.
All well and good, then. My only personal disappointment with bands like The Brought Low is that, with them being so close a clone-graft of a classic act (or a blending of a few), one is left with the feeling that one could just have listened to the originals. I’m getting increasingly wary of nostalgia subgenres in rock, as there’s something uncritical about it – as if everyone’s decided that there’s nothing new under the sun (which I’d agree with) and that, as a result, you might as well just dress yourself up as something you love (which I remain to be convinced is the path of true artistry). Don’t get me wrong, here: there’s no rule that says music needs to strive for art, and great entertainment – which The Brought Low certainly provide, especially at high volume with the remains of a post-lunch smoke drifting through the office – is a fine means to an end. But I guess the ease of access to classic albums from rock’s rich history (hello, internet!) means I value pure retro projects a little lower than I should, perhaps.
I mean, seriously, Third Record is a good record, and I don’t want to detract from that. But it’s driving that same well-travelled freeway we’ve been following for forty years, and as fine as it feels to hitch a fast ride for a long straight stretch and get the wind in my hair while I’m sprawled in the flatbed, I find myself wanting to jump off at minor junctions and head off down the back-roads less travelled. The Brought Low will always stop for hitchers, I’m thinking, but they can’t take me all the way to where I want to be. But for a ride to the next gas station… well, why not?
- The Editor
Tight, straight ahead, no-nonsense rock is what the Brought Low serves ups on their obviously titled third record, and they get it right!
With classic rock sensibilities, this 3 piece ensemble delivers a solid album that any fan of real rock should enjoy. Although the vocals are reminiscent of Van Zandt/ Lynyrd Skynyrd fame; by all means, this is not a southern rock record. The drums are top notch, and there is a cohesiveness to the album that shines on the track “Slow Your Row”. "Slow Your Row" is an instrumental rocker, with killer organ tossed over some tight jamming, by far the stand out here. I also liked “My Favorite Waste Of Time”, a head bobbin’ mid-tempo rocker.
These New Yorkers have been together for 10 years, and sound as though they are reaching their prime. Overall this is a great retro-rock sounding album, and will get many plays in any rockers system.
- Mike Himes
On their 2006 album Right on Time, New York’s the Brought Low managed to find a middle ground between southern rock, Times Square sleaze, and classic Fillmore West firepower. They do it all again on their third record, only tighter.
Right off the top, guitarist-vocalist Benjamin Howard Smith sings, “I’m an old century man, trying not to live in the past”, and clearly the man is failing spectacularly in this regard. The aptly named “My Favorite Waste of Time” is the kind of toweringly dunderheaded blues rock that Pitchfork was invented to vanquish—not that the Brought Low’s target audience gives a fuck about that. They just want a decent amount of gusto behind the enterprise, which is what they get, through nine tracks of adrenalized dude-rock.
Need a new “Tuesday’s Gone”? May I suggest “Last Man Alive”? Do you think the split second separating ZZ Top’s “Waitin’ for the Bus” from “Jesus Just Left Chicago” is the pinnacle of 20th-century art? Then you should hear the transition between “Everybody Loves a Whore” and “The Kelly Rose”. The first track is Howlin Rain at warp speed, with a top-to-bottom drum fill that only a speccy indie-rock kid in a striped hoodie wouldn’t get. The second is built for a more pensive form of headbanging, proving that the Brought Low are indeed capable of variety.
Earl Greyhound is the throwback Brooklyn power trio getting all the press right now, but it’s the Brought Low who are playing from the gut. Highly recommended if you ever seriously toyed with naming your kid Lynyrd.
- Adrian Mack
Fact. This album has been four years in the making. Fact. This band gets better with each album. Fact. This may be THE album of the year to get. This album is the third album put out by The Brought Low and the second on the almighty Small Stone Records label. The album, which happens to be called “Third Record” extends from their last album, “Right On Time.” The album contains nine tracks and tops out in thirty eight and a half minutes long. That’s long enough to keep you thoroughly entertained and then hit the repeat button. This album not only requires multiple listens, it demands it and for good reason too. It’s a damn good album, maybe good isn’t the right word, great is more like it.
The tempo is up and down and mixes it up. It has a nice balance and is not one of those albums that you get bored with quickly. You don’t even want to start thinking about what you’re going to listen to next before it gets finished. Nope, you want to make sure your repeat button is set and listen to it over and over and over again. As of this writing I’ve owned the album for a little over six hours and I’m on my fourth time through. I’d have a few more listens if it wasn’t for family duties.
I had seen written somewhere that the Sun Gods In Exile were the best southern rock band not from the south. While Sun Gods In Exile are a damn good band, I would have to say that the title really belongs to The Brought Low. Upon first listen you would think you were listening to a Lynyrd Skynyrd album. The very first time I ever listened to The Brought Low I thought it was Skynyrd.
“Old Century Man” is a pretty fast song and kicks off the album. It sets the pace for the majority of the album. The songs actually reminds me of “Runnin Down A Dream” by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. If there were ever a headbanging song by this band, this track is it. “Everybody Loves A Whore” is the next song. This continues the pace started by “Old Century Man.” It almost sounds like an angry Tom Petty. The guitars are fast and continuous the drumming is quick as well. There is no slowdown in the song. “The Kelly Rose” slows down the album a tad but not to much. It slows down a bit at the end which sets up the next track, an acoustic one called “A Thousand Miles Away.” Do I hear a bit of a banjo in there? I think I do. “My Favorite Waste of Time” picks up a bit, almost has that slow nod your head to the beat to it starting off. It’s a pretty mellow song. Not to slow but not to fast, just right. As the song carries on it picks up the pace a bit then carries on to the end of the song. “Matthew’s Grave” picks up the pace and now we’re back to the pace set by the first few tracks. It’s seems to be about a kid taken from this planet way before his time. The next track, “Blow Out Your Candles” is my favorite on the album. It’s probably the most epic song on the album. Eric “Where’s the new Five Horse Johnson album” Oblander plays harmonica on this track. “Last Man Alive” starts off slow and the songs has a real Lynard Skynard feel to it. It even reminds me of the beginning of “Freebird.” It keeps that slow and steady pace throughout. This song is my second favorite song on the album. To close things off is “Slow Your Role.” This songs separates itself right away from the last song. First off it’s fast, it’s epic and it’s an instrumental. The presence of an organ played by Dave Unger was a nice touch too.
Overall I think this album is great. It’s a must buy for not only fans of the The Brought Low but also anyone who likes southern classic rock. Fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Black Crowes, Molly Hatchet, Thin Lizzy and even some of Kid Rock’s newer material would get a kick out of this album. If there’s ever a band to pry someone away from mainstream music, The Brought Low is the band can do it. They were one of the bands that did it for me but that’s a different story for a different time.
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.
- Michael Toland
The Brought Low has been blasting the NYC area for over 10 years now and keeps getting better every time they hit the stage. Their creatively titled Third Record (title and cover no doubt inspired by Portishead’s Third) is an old fashioned 38 minute rock record. Lots of variety and just long enough to listen to on the subway ride from the crib to the gig and will get you there right on time. Ben Howard plays the guit-fiddle and sings, while Robert Russell works the four string and Nick Heller pounds the tubs.
Rompin, stompin opener “Old Century” has a riff that sounds like it could have been lifted straight off the first Kiss tape but with Johnny Thunders sitting in for Ace Frehley. The lyrics deal with growing up lean n mean in Queens and how Roosevelt Avenue aint what it used to be. Without pausing for breath, they slam into the fast paced “Everybody Loves A Whore.” If the first song was classic rock influenced, this one’s classic punk influenced with shades of Black Flag and The Saints battling it out for sonic supremacy on a cover of “Space Station #5” by Montrose.
Songs like “The Kelly Rose” (includes a nice steal from Humble Pie’s “Stone Cold Fever”) and “Matthew’s Grave” are classic mid tempo Brought Low rockers. “Blow Out Your Candles” is kind of Aerosmithy and features some nice shared vocal duties between Ben and Bob. Maybe some of the best since “Don’t Misunderstand Me” by the Rossington-Collins Band. Harmonica blowing comes courtesy of Eric Oblander of Five Horse Johnson. The ladies will love the sleazy bump-n-grind of “My Favorite Waste Of Time” if any of them ever come to one of the shows. There are even some slow ones like “Last Man Alive” and the acoustic guitar (eeeek!) driven “A Thousand Miles Away” for those who like to cry in their beer. They wrap the whole thing up with a scorching instrumental called “Slow Your Roll” that sounds kinda like Deep Purple soundchecking with “Manic Depression” (guest organ by Dave Unger).
All the songs have big musical and lyrical hooks that will have you singing along on the second spin. The production on Third Record is very impressive. Classic without being overly retro and not overdubbed to death with too many guitar tracks. All the instruments sit well in the mix so you can groove along to your favorite player easily.
Back in the 70’s third albums were usually make or break for bands. Let’s hope Small Stone gives this a big push so these guys can start working the big rooms. They just opened for Them Crooked Vultures in NYC and didn’t get boo’d off the stage. The Brought Low will be playing South By Southwest this year and doing some touring to and from Austin, TX. If they come anywhere near you make sure you check them out and have a designated driver to get you home.
What New York City rockers The Brought Low have always managed to do best is get right to the point, and on their latest offering, the appropriately titled Third Album (Small Stone), the trio make it known right away that they’re open for business. “Old Century Man” is an upbeat rocker that plays directly into the trio’s old fashioned classic rock aesthetic. That song could be said to be the mission statement for the eight tracks following it, but The Brought Low do more sonically than hit overdrive for three minutes at a time and call it a day.
Which is fortunate, if you think about it, because if they did, we would have waited four years for a 27-minute record. And that seems silly somehow.
But no, The Brought Low offer substance in more than just temporal fashion right off the bat. There has always been an underlying emotionality to their songs, a blues-driven sense of loss made palpable to the listener through the vocals of guitarist Ben Smith. “Everybody Loves a Whore” keeps the vibe of the opener going, albeit more aggressively (or many that’s just me reacting to the name), but with “The Kelly Rose,” the band begins to show a personality in their work that 2006’s Right on Time had, at its strongest moments, started to fulfill. “The Kelly Rose” is catchy and memorable — a solid transition into “A Thousand Miles Away,” which takes a wistful, acoustic turn, highlighting a road-weary loneliness in the lyrics that’s perfectly suited to the pop melancholy of the music.
At over six minutes, “My Favorite Waste of Time” is the longest cut so far into Third Album (only “Last Man Alive” surpasses it at 6:22), and it relies on a heavy downbeat punctuated by drummer Nick Heller and a start-stop groove that is one of the best on the record. If you haven’t yet heard this month’s podcast, it’s in there. Smith’s guitar takes a higher tone for the bridge riff, and bassist/backing vocalist Robert Russell provides him a steady foundation on which to rest the song. Since Third Album is already more than half over, we’re about do for another rocker, and “Matthew’s Grave” delivers in catchy fashion the kind of chorus you want to sing along to on the first listen. “Blow Out Your Candles” is the groove giving “My Favorite Waste of Time” its strongest competition, but even with added harmonica from Five Horse Johnson’s Eric Oblander and a vocal tradeoff, the former wins out on its smoky, drunken regretful atmosphere alone.
If there’s ever a textbook on how to write a classic Southern rock ballad without sounding like a jackass, one can only hope a chapter in it will be devoted to “Last Man Alive.” The song capitalizes on the mood set by “A Thousand Miles Away” in naming its loneliness, and as Smith emotes, it’s all the easier to empathize with his predicament of being, “All alone, except for the emptiness, like the moon in the sky.” The simplicity of the lyric is emblematic of The Brought Low’s overall accessibility. We know it’s something we’ve heard before, but that doesn’t stop us from interiorizing or enjoying it in the slightest. It is this ability, to renew well-tread paths, that makes a Brought Low album so special.
They close with Third Album with “Slow Your Roll,” an organ-infused instrumental jam; just about the only place they could really go after “Last Man Alive” and just about the only place they could have put the track where it wouldn’t have been out of place. As it is, it caps Third Album with a revived spirit and notion of improvisation, but, because of its position as the closer, is still somewhat anticlimactic. By the time you realize that, however, the song and album both are over. Nifty trick on the part of the band, but after listening, it’s really only one of the many up their collective sleeve.
The Brought Low are the best rock and roll band in New York. We know this already. It’s a given. What Third Album does is to reaffirm their position as same while introducing several years’ worth of maturity into the songwriting and approach. Listening back to Right on Time and to their self-titled debut before that, the shift in style is apparent but never feels forced. The Brought Low’s is a growth as natural and organic as the tones they emit in their songs, and Third Album proves it’s possible to become a stronger, more intricate performer without sacrificing the edge or immediacy of earlier work. You can’t lose to check it out.
- H.P. Taskmaster
There’s a real shortage these days of something I like to call High Rocktane music (yes, I do think I’m clever by the way). This is music that was born of the seventies but filtered through modern rock concepts. It isn’t stonerrock as that was born more from Sabbath and Kyuss, this is born more from Sir Lord Baltimore, Grand Funk Railroad and then bands like Boss Hog and The Stooges. One band that seems to be bringing High Rocktane back is The Brought Low and their tremendous new album titled, well, Third Record.
Third Record is a full blast rock record filled with a deep affinity for soul. The up-tempo songs rock in a great way but it’s really the mid-tempo slower jams that show you where The Brought Low is most powerful. Grimy and gritty these songs feel like the deep south at dusk when the humidity is overpowering and a rain storm is right on the tip of your tongue. A song like “My Favorite Waste Of Time” has pure sex rhythms being fleshed out by a guitar sound that is soaked with beer and dirt.
Don’t get me wrong, the rock jams here kick ass. The opening song “Old Century” is a full on arena rock boogie tune, complete with a foot stomping riff that would make Grand Funk proud. I was especially driven to search out a fistfight at the end of “Everybody Loves A Whore”, a song written to drink, fight and fuck to. The Brought Low makes rock a good time again, lets it be groovy and silly and totally real. So much of what goes on today tries to garner respectability by being “dark” or “brooding” where as The Brought Low achieve that respectability by bringing the party.
The unexpected thing with The Brought Low is the vocals handled by guitarist Ben Smith. There are all kinds of bands out there writing High Rocktane style music but then ruin it by laying down vocals that either suck or just don’t belong. Smith who is largely an East Coast guy sings with a southern drawl, not a forced one but a sort of natural everyman style that takes the already killer music and raises it up a level. These songs sound like old tales told by a man who was there and that’s a feel sorely lacking in other bands has right now.
Oddly enough the greatest strength of The Brought Low’s “Third Record” also becomes its Achilles Heel. While the slow jams are just amazing I felt by the end of the record there might have been room for one more up-tempo tune. The last song “Slow Your Roll” is an awesome instrumental but it doesn’t feel like an ending, it feels like the song just before the end. It’s obvious The Brought Low know what they want and who am I to question it, I just think Third Record would’ve been perfect if summed up with a smash face last song..
The Brought Low, Throttlerod, Fireball Ministry, all these bands are doing their best to bring back High Rocktane music for a world that needs a party. The best thing about The Brought Low is that they don’t forget there are chicks at the party and chicks need the slow simmering jams to get in the mood. Third Record is a monster album that had better get a lot of attention this year, if not then why are we even doing this anymore?
Crave Online Rating 8 Out Of 10
- Iann Robinson
It’s a rare and celebratory day when a new Brought Low album drops, so stop whatever it is you’re doing, dust off the ol’ beard, summon the buzzards, and grab a pint of glory. The obviously named Third Record is just that, and only in the last ten years, too. Christ, it’s like these fuckers live looser than a goose the day after Thanksgiving, only stumbling out of their Dudeist rock haze once every four or five years to lay a big, bad-ass, bloozy rock record on us. You’ve got to have a whole heap of respect for a band who rocks on THEIR terms, the same way you envy a fat cat sleeping in the sun on a dusty Sunday afternoon. Fuck, you say, I wish I could live/rock like that.
The Brought Low could easily be the undisputed Glam Boogie Kings of New York City if they wanted to be, but in a place where you’ve got to be seen to be somebody, there ain’t too many bright lights shining on the chicken coop of the slow roll. Their riffs flow like molasses, but glitter like stardust, and songs like “Everybody Loves a Whore” and “The Kelly Rose” drop out of the sky like thunder and lightning while others like “A Thousand Miles Away” and “Last Man Alive” float effortlessly on by like clouds in a prairie sky. I don’t know what these boys have been doing with all that time between albums, but they sure as shit haven’t been messing with their tired and true formula of Skynyrd n’ Stones riff n’ roll, of Crowes n’ Cactus rock n’ soul, that’s for damn sure. Internationally speaking, I’d compare them to Canada’s Lions in the Street or England’s The Thieves, but The Brought Low are an all-out, blue collar slice of Americana pleasure pie, and Third Record should fill you up for the next four or five years. I mean, it’s gonna have to, right?