Low Roar frontman Ryan Karazija is perhaps the only musician to make taking a free ride sound like an ominous endeavor.
“I’m taking everyone out for a ride/I promise it won’t take long,” he utters suspiciously over a thudding heartbeat of a drumbeat on “Give Me An Answer,” the fourth track of Low Roar’s new album Once in a Long, Long While… The mood is indicative of where the record quickly heads — and remains — in Karazija’s Icelandic soundscape.
Karazija pairs with San Fermin for two consecutive shows at Brighton Music Hall in Allston tonight and tomorrow (May 15 and 16), and is poised to share excerpts from his project’s third album under the Low Roar moniker.
“I’m just really happy with the end product, I had a lot to get out and I feel like it all came together really well,” Karazija says. “I’d say this is my proudest moment.”
If one is touring the globe all summer — and we mean all of it, not just a quick London and Paris set — then making not one stop in Allston, but two, can seem like a bit of a head-scratching managerial move. But for every seeming cult of too-cool artists emerging from Iceland, there’s an accompanying cult of fans trying in vain to pronounce half the names of the artists they admire so dearly.
Skirting through the 12 tracks of he band’s third full-length album, their collaboration with Jófríður Ákadóttir on “Bones” serves as a good recap of record, channeling the bleakness of every bitter-end breakup in the book. “You’re a part of me, and I’m a part of you,” they lament in sync, in spite of their inevitable split.
Previously, the Iceland-based musician released music with the indie band Audrye Sessions until 2010. Low Roar, however, has been the singer’s step away from indie towards toned-down electronica. While Audrye Sessions fleshed out the typical band makeup, Low Roar is much more sparse and unconventional when using guitars and drums, which often take the backseat to a smorgasbord of slower-paced synth effects.
Even when the mood picks up with some jaunty lyrics (“nine months since I licked you clean and left with no complaints,” he starts on “Waiting (10 Years),” Karazija’s atmosphere never permits the sun to linger for very long, shutting it out with harsh, icy synth.
It’s frigid, for sure, but that’s exactly what Karazija prides himself on.
LOW ROAR + SAN FERMIN :: Monday, May 15 and Tuesday, May 16 at Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave. in Allston, MA :: 7:30 p.m., 18-plus, $20 :: Advance tickets: Monday + Tuesday :: Featured Low Roar photo by Konrad Ćwik