Lesser Key Lesser Key

2014 Sumerian Records

Borrowing tools?

Lesser Key - Lesser Key


Joining Crosses as the ugly ducklings on the Sumerian Records roster are Lesser Key; an outfit whose trump card consists of founding Tool bassist Paul D’Amour residing within their ranks.

With D’Amour‘s distinctive playing style, it becomes hard to separate his influence from the outfit; as his weighty bass lines and the admittedly low rumble of the accompanying drums serve as the powerful undertow (pun not intended) that drags the band down to Tool‘s brainy depths.

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But while there is ample rhythmic density and atmospheric glitz throughout the lingering artsy rock on hand; there’s also a strong pull of sensitive modern rock n’ roll. The kind groups like Chevelle liberally co-opted from D’Amour‘s claim to fame and spun into various gold & platinum records.

Where Lesser Key vary however is their refusal to chart a course for rock radio rotation. They instead drift in and out of a dreamy soundscape colored by blurry shades that is dictated by tranquil progression. This listless nature can easily be seen as one of the biggest strikes against them. Their music, while admirably played and composed, lacks in immediacy and memorable hooks.

It’s more of a full package listen, a moody experience that doesn’t lend itself to being served up in pieces. That it doesn’t attempt to entirely differentiate itself from a song to song basis—not to mention the familiar palettes it borderline abuses—means that it doesn’t entirely showcase its own merits either.

You can’t fault a former member of Tool for sticking to what he knows, and what Lesser Key deliver here is certainly a cut above most. But while they’ve established a sure footing, it doesn’t mean they’ve also found their true defining voice.

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