Low Roar Serenades at Park Tavern
It was a beautiful evening in Piedmont Park in Atlanta on Sunday, and tucked away in the onsite upscale Park Tavern restaurant was a stage occupied by Icelandic trio Low Roar, who are currently on tour with indie Brooklynites San Fermin. The event was part of the Sunset Sessions concert series put on by local alternative station Radio 105.7. It's a nice, free event that they put on every summer, and it's cool to see the diverse turnout of people that it brings.
My prior knowledge of Low Roar's music was limited. They seemed to gain a wealth of new fans when their song "Easy Way Out" soundtracked the trailer for the upcoming video game Death Stranding, but I had heard a few songs by them before that. Combining looped ambient soundscapes with emotional vocals, it makes sense that their music has drawn comparisons to that of Radiohead's later work. Low Roar, however, brings a more pastoral and organic approach to their music, no doubt inspired by the landscapes of their native home of Iceland.
They performed a modest 8-song set and opened with "Nobody Else." Cryptic lyrics like "We’ve become lost/Shine lights in the past/No sign of a way out" seemed to float along the electronic flourishes, sung in singer Ryan Karazija's pleasant falsetto. They followed that up with "Give Me An Answer," from their newest album Once in a Long, Long While.
"Bones" was a pleasant highlight, with their bassist taking over vocal duties from the recorded version's Jófríður Ákadóttir, who makes up one-half of Icelandic duo Pascal Pinon. The emotions were cranked to 11, with "'Cause you're a part of me and I'm a part of you" being a strikingly well-performed line. Following that, an influx of ominous beats set the stage for "I'll Keep Coming," with atmospheric bowed guitar melodies accenting the song further. A gently played acoustic guitar transitioned into "Easy Way Out." In equal measures mellow and sad, the song emitted a feeling of melancholy as the sun set behind Piedmont Park.
Low Roar closed the show with the moving ballad "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight." "I ain't gonna be too long" Ryan repeated, as a sea of ambiance washed through the crowd. They said their thank yous and goodbyes as the show came to an end, and I was left with a positive impression of their dreamy take on folk music. I'm interested in seeing where the trajectory of their career will take them from here.