Meet The Low & Sweet Orchestra

Turning away from the punk rock of their youth.

The Low and Sweet Orchestra's Zander Schloss (Circle Jerks), thinks it's only

natural that a guy like him might want to slow down and play the kind of

"mature" music he and his gang do. "It's more about aging gracefully," says

Schloss. "I just think it's a little embarrassing to see guys in their mid-30's

trying to act like they did in their youthful heyday," he adds, without naming

names. Mainly, he says, he wanted to get together an "intelligent group of guys

with their lives together, with no one going off the deep end every other day,

who were interested in a sense of longevity." What Schloss is doing now, in

conjunction with a group of good friends, including singer Mike Martt

(Thelonious Monster), accordionist James Fearnley (The Pogues), brothers and

actors Kieran and Dermot Mulroney (violins, cello, dobro, viola), bassist Tom

Barta and drummer Will Hughes, all of which, apparently meet the

above-mentioned criteria, is playing the kind of music he says he wanted to in

the first place. The Orchestra, whose debut, Goodbye to All That is a

mix of Martt's melancholy ruminations on love and life lost, mixed with

Fearnely's Poguesy barroom instrumentation and Schloss' fascination with folk

music from a variety of cultures, succeeds in transposing the manic energy of

the various members backgrounds into a mature musical setting that trades high

volume for tight chops and overt lyrical aggression for a more subtle, but not

less bruising, kind of wordplay. Kinder, but by no means gentler. And if you

don't believe that, just check out "A Nail Won't Fix a Broken Heart," which

they invite you to take literally as describing singer Martt's faulty decision

to fill his own broken heart by shooting up drugs. "Drugs nail your heart back

together," he says, "but there's still that hole."

Schloss says he finally

realized during the ill-fated Circle Jerks reunion tour that "you don't need to

crank your amp to 10 to get your message across." Hence, the mainly acoustic

songs on Goodbye , that Schloss asserts are more fulfilling for him to

play, since people actually listen to what he's playing and saying, rather than

getting caught up in the wildness and chaos surrounding the shows. Besides, he

reminds us, punk was just a different kind of folk music anyway. Ironically,

Schloss reports that the debut has met with charges that it is the band

member's most overt attempt yet to fit in, to toe the line. "I realize the

songs are more adult, more mainstream even, but this couldn't be less

commercial..."

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