The Low Anthem Covers All the Bases

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The Low Anthem Covers All the Bases

Members: (L-R) Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystowsky and Jocie Adams (not pictured, Cyrus Scofield)
Album: Oh My God, Charlie Darwin 
For Fans Of: Nick Drake, Joe Henry, Gary Jules

Tinker and Evers. Reese and Robinson. Trammel and ?Whitaker. All of baseball’s great double-play duos moved in a way that was almost musical. Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky extended those harmonies from the baseball diamond to an actual band.

hear The Low Anthem’s latest LP, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. “From that first double play," Prystowsky jokes, we knew that it would be magic.”

Chance; likewise, The Low Anthem wasn’t complete until the addition of fellow Providence resident and classically trained clarinetist Jocie Adams, who joined the band when their second album, What the Crow Brings, came out last year. The three members combine to play 27 different instruments on Charlie Darwin, including zither, trumpet, pump organ and a ?Tibetan singing bowl. Each of them also took turns behind the drum kit before the recent addition of drummer Cyrus ?Scofield. They even hand-painted the covers of the album’s first 2,000 copies.

“We spend a lot of time just playing musical chairs with all of our instruments set up in our apartment,” Miller says, “and just wait until the frequencies start buzzing and you say, ‘this is the arrangement.’ A lot of the textures could be played different ways, sometimes even different genres. We’ll play the same song with a punk feel and then we’ll play it as a folk ballad.”

Charlie DarwinI’ll Never Be,” a Tom Waits adaptation of a Jack Kerouac poem. They’re constantly mixing up tempo, volume and instrumentation, but always in lock-stop harmony, like a beautifully turned double play.