Returning with their sophomore LP, Round The World, Lowrider are quite clearly a band well in tune with their own tastes and preference, a fact shown by the confident and wandering approach to style the band have taken with this album.
Opening with loud and raucous party tunes blending a hip hop sensibility with soul and funk influences and plenty of 90’s R&B, Round The World hits you square in the throat with it’s bombastic bass lines, brash brass and wailing organ. Somewhat reminiscent of bands like The Cat Empire in their appropriation of styles from the earlier half of the twentieth century, Lowrider nevertheless manage to maintain a sense of originality through their thoroughly beat driven energy and strong rhythms.
However that’s not even the half of it, as after the first five or so tracks the album suddenly detours into calmer waters, embracing a more down tempo R&B vibe rife with cheesy pianos and impossibly clean acoustic guitars. While I had first been charmed by their sheer energy, the second half of the album shows a much more polished and restrained side to the band. Sure it gets a bit Michael Buble or Missy Higgins in parts, but you have to respect the balls it must have took to say, ‘hey, let’s forget all our fans know us as a rocking funk soul hip hop band, let’s make half an album’s worth of 80s ballads.’
If I’m honest this album definitely isn’t for everyone, and I’d assume its target market is more aimed towards the adult contemporary. It’s very well made and incorporates quite a few interesting choices in the production and arrangements of songs, moves I would not have anticipated judging from the first few songs.
Not the coolest album on the block, but one of the most heartfelt and ballsy.