Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. American experimental folksters The Low Anthem are back and their latest long player is the subject of today’s feature.

The Music:

The Low Anthem have been a singular, unique entity in indie folk for over a decade at this point and their latest album, ‘The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea’, is a collection of beautifully simplistic, minimal reveries. Sparse electronics overlay a backing of gently strummed acoustic guitar and fragile, deeply melodic vocals to creating an affecting and singular atmosphere. It takes a moment to grow accustomed to the serene pace at which the band move on the album but once you do, it’s a quietly beautiful joy.

The Pressing:

‘The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea’ is the first Low Anthem album to be released by Joyful Noise Recordings; they’re a label we’ve featured quite a lot on Vinyl Corner in the past and, without fail, we’ve always been impressed with what they have to offer when it comes to vinyl releases. This pressing is no exception to that rule – we’re looking at the black vinyl version here but it has been released on a few different colours, all of which should theoretically sound the same. As with most Joyful Noise releases, the record is pressed at California’s Pirates Press and they’ve done a great job. Vinyl weight is around 140g by our estimation and the record is pressed to a high standard of quality control, with the disc sitting flat and steady on the platter during playback and appearing scrupulously clean from new, totally free of handling marks from the factory. Playback is very good indeed – a real blessing seeing as how quiet almost all of the album is. The noise floor is practically inaudible here and playback is very clean and free of any noticeable surface noise, pops or crackles. The album is ephemerally short at just slightly over half an hour, meaning that neither side comes close to risking the inner groove distortion associated with overly long sides and fidelity remains excellent throughout. A great pressing in every respect.

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The Packaging:

We’ve found in the past that Joyful Noise tend to put a few quirky touches on their packaging and presentation that most labels wouldn’t think to do, and this release is no exception. The sleeve itself is largely as you would expect from a standard single LP – it’s a non-gatefold design with good print quality, strong colours and a spine that stands out well. The minimalistic cover art gives no indication of the band or album title, so a hype sticker on the shrink delivers that information instead and the barcode is found on a sticker rather than printed onto the sleeve itself – big ups for that. It’s the inner sleeve that particularly impresses, however; in addition to providing lyrics for the whole album, the card inner boasts a beautiful and highly unique spot-glossing effect that looks fantastic and quite unlike anything else we’ve seen on recent vinyl releases (or any, for that matter). It’s a really nice touch and one that ideally needs to been first hand to be appreciated. We would, of course, still advise slipping the record into a polylined inner sleeve for general use but full marks for presentation on this release.

Final Thoughts:

Joyful Noise Recordings impress once again with a clean, sonically rich pressing and that is very well presented, especially given the standard price-point. This one comes highly recommended.

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