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HEY WHAT explores rugged soundscapes of doom and salvation, intertwined into a brash performance that terrifies and soothes.

Released: 10 September 2021

Low’s new record, HEY WHAT, is an album of contradictions. Whereas 2018’s Double Negative seemed like a world in a downward spiral, HEY WHAT resembles a sine wave: peaks and valleys. Pandemonium through distortion, introspection through harmonic vocals.

Lead single ‘Days Like These’ encompasses the zeitgeist. We’re treated to our fears, screaming in the dead of night, soothed away by restful sleep (a rare commodity for some). The cyclical nature of HEY WHAT hints at a naturalistic subtext in its sometimes cold demeanour. A perfect example is ‘White Horses’, with an unnerving beeping at the end that segues into ‘I Can Wait’, a song like a pastoral grafted into the digital era.

The glitchy nature of HEY WHAT could be off-putting, but it’s a natural consequence of the genre. Loud distortion and heavy processing creates atmospheres rich in texture, while the comforting dual vocals of Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk act like a lifeline back to ground. We realise that reality, as gloomy as it ever was, is still around us.

HEY WHAT is eerie. It’s a challenge to conventional music. Much like 2007’s Drums and Guns, it’s a brutal trip through Low’s inner thoughts. HEY WHAT builds on the groundwork of Double Negative, a gothic cathedral near the edge of the universe, crumbling and rebuilding itself in waves of brash noises and angelic voices.

by Sam J
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