You know that part in your favorite indie flick when the guy finally gets the girl, and they embrace in a passionate kissing session beneath the falling rain? Lowlands practically wrote the soundtrack. Not literally, of course, but in a folksy, "lull me with your tender words" sort of way.
The Largest Army encompasses the passion and prowess necessary to truly pull off a successful indie-rock album. It's crisp and smooth, with warm vocals and a wave of tension that pulls and pops effortlessly. Tom Rorem has a deeper, shapely voice that stands out in a genre run by guys that almost always sound like they're wearing black glasses and a plaid shirt.
In the standout song, "Pilgrims Progress," Rorem's voice has a Yoni Wolf spark to it, which shines the most when the instruments fall away and he sings over a snare drum with a stick tapping the rim: "I'm a heart without a lover, like a bird without a beak, adding to this conversation, in a language no one speaks."
There's a cerebral speck of Transatlanticism, the stylistic musings of Andrew Bird post-Squirrel Nut Zippers, and the undertones of The Decemberists, which creates a beautiful, deeply layered experience of harmonies, witty one-liners and tempo changes.
More than anything, it's a one-of-a-kind and incredibly necessary record that dares to challenge the pop-dance zombie culture that's taken over radio stations and clubs.