Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Low Showcase the Continuation of their Dystopian Sound on New Single ‘Days Like These’

After almost three decades of rotating bass players and constant line-up changes, Low’s Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk embark upon their first full-length effort as a duo.  

The band’s thirteenth studio album, ‘Hey What’, is set to be released on September 10th

The first single, ‘Days Like These’, while a mere taster, indicates they are not letting go of the dystopian and deconstructed soundscape that underpinned the success of their 2018 album, ‘Double Negative’.  

Unlike much of ‘Double Negative’, however, the track indulges in simplicity in numerous ways. It is this blend of electronically induced chaos alongside the human touch of Parker and Sparhawk that have kept Low exciting all these years. 

Days Like These’ wastes no time and introduces its main melodic and conceptual motifs straight away. As a disorienting chorus of voices engulf the sonic space with the words “When you think you’ve seen everything / You’ll find we’re living in days like these”, Sparhawk’s voice manages to maintain prominence. The hopefulness of his delivery undercuts the bleak lyricism and overwhelming layers of voices, and the simple pop feel of the melody is aided by a heavy dose of autotune.  

Like most of Low’s material the instrumentation is minimal, but it never sounds bare. Producer BJ Burton, who has worked on the band’s last two albums, has become an expert in catering to the outfit’s penchant for synth fuzz while maintaining the emotional core of their song writing. ‘Days Like These’ keeps to a melodic story throughout, but the wall of distortion tail-ending each line of the second verse reminds us that there is little safety in this. 

Starting out beautiful and powerful before descending into a harshly deconstructed world of noise, the track ends quietly. Like watching mist settle after a storm, the fragmented aftermath of what came before seems like a distant yet painful memory. While a seemingly simple arrangement, the intentionality of each section and sound choice lends to a truly immersive listening experience. 

Moni Lerpiniere 

Image: Low ‘Days Like These’ Official Single Artwork

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