Low Life - From Squats to Lots: The Agony & XTC of Low Life LPGoner Records
Some records hit one with an instant impression of timeless brilliance, and Low Life’s Dogging is one of those records, what the wise call “an instant classic”. From Squats To Lots: The Agony And The XTC Of Low Life is more like their second album Downer Edn (read Edition), a little more withdrawn, a little more textured. Complex. Rich. Which is to say: one’s going to need some time with it. Iggy Pop’s Bowie-produced studio rock masterpieces The Idiot and Lust For Life are important reference points to this third album. Here comes success! Bowie later referred to this period of his life as profoundly nihilistic. But Iggy looked at it as the period of his life that saved him from an early grave. This confrontation is Low life lore. Sip it, and sense the recurring brilliance of Mitch Tolman’s lyrics, exploring the usual territory of gutter life, lad life, punk life, low life. The dirge. Disgust and shame in white Australia. Council housing, bills piled to the neck, substance abuse and rehabilitation, the fallen lads and lasses who stood too close to the flame, loss and loneliness, from squats to lots. Un-Australian gutter symphony. Think, like, if Poison Idea were given the kind of studio time and budget as Happy Mondays. One wouldn’t play this to a teenager. It’s not for children. This is a mature flavor, one for the adults who have had to contend with failure and hardship, medical bills and disappointed family members, betrayed lovers and worrisome growths, police brutality and tooth decay, humiliating bowels and collapsed septums, detoxing and drying out, for those who have seen themselves as corrupted and putrid and unloveable, for those who endure all of this and aren’t willing to lie down and cop it sweet: Low Life are still here and they ain’t going nowhere.