Album | The Lowland Hundred – Adit

An adit is a hillside entrance into a mine (usually a horizontal or vertical passage into the pit, if you care) and a mining reference seems fitting for the sophomore LP of Aberystwyth natives the Lowland Hundred. Their second album is not one that will give up its fruits easily, requiring patience and, yes, more than a little hard work, but there is black gold within for fans of subtle beauty.

This is a record that demands your total attention – the songs barely crawl along as Paul Newland’s soaring vocals haltingly tell tales of his homeland. The song structures might be more straightforward than their debut Under Cambrian Sky, but this is still a highly demanding listen – and one that will only appeal to a certain kind of listener. The seven songs take a collective 46 minutes and that is despite ‘Mariamne’s Garden’ being 81 seconds in length. Two of them are north of 10 minutes – and that can seem like an ocean of time when things move at this pace.

But with their spare sound, the Lowland Hundred invite you into the life of a Welsh mining town. ‘Scree/Talus’, which clocks in at almost 13 minutes, sets personal stories alongside a light touch of jazz to form the record’s centrepiece. However this song, more than any other here, moves at such a slow speed as to pretty much stop more than once. It’s not something you can listen to in the background, working more as performance art than music. Give the record your full attention and you can’t help but admire the beauty, but to get anything at all out of it, you’re going to need to give a lot yourself. It makes for the kind of record that feels almost out of place these days. Kind of like a miner.