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Low

HEY WHAT

Sub Pop

Released: 10th September 2021

CD£10.99 Buy Now In Stock. Dispatched tomorrow.
Clear Vinyl Loser Edition LP£24.99 Buy Now In Stock. Dispatched tomorrow.
Standard LP£22.99 Buy Now In Stock. Dispatched tomorrow.


LP
Packaging: Single-LP jacket with custom dust sleeve

Loser Edition LP
Packaging: Single-LP jacket with custom dust sleeve
Limited edition on crystal-clear vinyl only available

If, like me, you discovered this band at their minimalist peak (for me, the album Secret Name and Songs For A Dead Pilot were the prime examples of this) perhaps they had cemented themselves in your brain as the band whose live sets you couldn't eat a packet of crisps during. I remember a particularly beautiful set at Glasgow's QMU around the early 00s which was like a religious experience (no pun intended on their practising Mormonism.) 2018's Double Negative completely blew all of those preconceptions apart. Of course, they'd been making grandiose, noisy rock music for years with amps on fire but by 2018 they had completley transformed their sound into a future rock that perhaps only the likes of My Bloody Valentine had foreseen. Double Negative's extremity in all directions (the blown out, ultra compressed distortion, autotuned vocals) was utterly devastating. Indeed, some found it a bit hard to take even. HEY WHAT (I think we're supposed to keep the capitlisation) is an even further development of the Double Negative pallette, this time injecting more melodic strains for fans familiar with their earlier material, more space in the compositions. The result, I have to say, is pure Album Of The Year material.

By this point, Low have made the whole studio-as-an-instrument aesthetic completely their own. Every sound element is extreme in its own way and space. The vocals are often to the front, and when there are tender moments they feel utterly sublime, particularly in the interplay between Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk's voice box gel. The guitars are ultra processed, world eating affairs, rising like mega waves that threaten to crash upon the song only to be held back by the angelic, hymnal forcefield conjured by Low's two protagonists. We're reminded of MBV's sonic extremity, the way the dedication to sound works in tandem with song, but there's such an ecstatic spirituality to Low in 2021 that this album feels more like something to experience rather than listen to. It's almost beyond music, the way the music vibrates every cell in your body makes you feel like you're teleporting, every atom being shaken apart to be submerged into pure consciousness, before the extreme noise gated silences bring you back to reality with a spine tingling jolt. If you don't believe me, have a watch to the video for Days Like These.

The heaviness of the album, conjured sometimes only by a blown out, bit-crushed guitar and vocal makes it feel like the weight of the world is collapsing in on you but then a deft musical trick, like a pitch-shifted vocal or cascading keyboard behind a waterfall of synth brings you back to life a new person in love with the world.

I seriously can't recommend this album enough, it's like a violent awakening into a new plain of existence.

Michael



PR BLURB:

Focusing on their craft, staying out of the fray, and holding fast their faith to find new ways to express the discord and delight of being alive, to turn the duality of existence into hymns we can share, Low present HEY WHAT. These ten pieces—each built around their own instantaneous, undeniable hook—are turbocharged by the vivid textures that surround them. The ineffable, familiar harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker break through the chaos like a life raft. Layers of distorted sound accrete with each new verse - building, breaking, colossal then restrained, a solemn vow only whispered. There will be time to unravel and attribute meaning to the music and art of these times, but the creative moment looks FORWARD, with teeth.



HEY WHAT is Low's thirteenth full-length release in twenty-seven years, and their third with producer BJ Burton.