Oh man. Its seems like just yesterday my mind was blown when I heard Lowrider’s debut album ‘Ode To Io’ for the first time. I remember thinking this is a game changer. That opening riff and fuzzed out tone hit my soul heart hard. That album is without a doubt is a highpoint of the genre. It’s so hard to believe that was two decades ago already. If you would have told me back in 2000 that we would have to wait until 2020 to get another record from Lowrider I surely would have been seriously bummed out. I considered Lowrider part of that special class of the genre with other heavyweights such as Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Melvins, Fatso Jetson, CoC and QOTSA. You know, the hall of fame of stoner rock. That was how freaking good that debut record was.
Well now its 2020 and I’ll be dammed if Lowrider hasn’t done it again. The Sweden based bands new album ‘Refractions’ is a stunner packed with six brilliant songs. “Refractions” hits you you hard from the start with a track called “Red River.” Just like the opening track “Caravan” off “Ode To Io” did twenty years ago. You just hear the riff and know you are about to experience something that is superior. Lowrider just as that chemistry, sound and style that put them in an upper class. When “Red River’ hits you instantly know its Lowrider. It just as that sound. But, even though it has that classic Lowrider sound it sounds fresh and energized. Because of Lowrider’s legend they could have easily put out a straight forward and safe record and it probably would have still been a success. But instead, they pushed it and in my opinion only grew they’re legend.
The albums second track “Ode To Ganymede” is such a badass groovy song. The guitar work by Ola Hellquist and Niclas Stalfors is haunting and beautiful. Packed with tasty riffs and Cathy melodies Lowrider shows just how good they are at their craft on this one. The songs breakdown is fire with some more killer guitar work and some nice work on the keys. The song hits full speed on a giant chug chug riff that crushes. “Ode To Ganymede” is definitely a high point for me on ‘Refractions’.
On the track “Sernanders Krog” Peder Bergstrand sounds great on vocals. The song as a nice little shuffle to it and again uses a killer breakdown. The guitar solo is huge and pushed by an amazing fuzzed out tone. “Refractions” then shifts into a punchy track titled “Ol’ Mule Pepe”. I love the push the song as driving the riff home. Andreas Eriksson on drums and Peder Bergstrand on bass lock in and drive this sucker home. No surprise that this track also as a rad riff and lead work on it.
Lowrider then just full go into brain melting mode on the track “Sun Devil / M87*”. Just shy of five minutes this track is instrumental madness. Killer riffs stacked on more killer riffs. The boys really get to spread their wings and show their chops on this one. Lowrider can shred while still keeping the groove and soul. That is not always the easiest thing to do. “Refractions” then ends with an eleven minute and twenty-five second epic anthem titled “Pipe Rider.” The track starts with a low rumble underneath some dreamy guitar work. Bergstrand’s vocal performance is great. Lowrider end things heavy, big and left me in awe.
I’ve had this album for about a month now and its been consistently in my rotation. I’ve only learned to appreciate and love it more with every listen. I’m so thankful that Lowrider decided to come back and give this world more music. They just have that spark or special something. “Refractions” will go down as one of those elite albums for the stoner rock genre. The song writing, tones and production are perfect. I don’t have the words to really speak to how good this band is. Lets just all hope that we will get more music from them sooner then twenty years!