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A review of...
Heba by Lowly
Danish five piece deliver some icy electro on this assured debut.
Formed just a few years ago in Denmark, Lowly's sound remarkably accomplished. They seem like the finished article rather than a group finding their feet. Perhaps this, in some part, is due to the place that they formed, a music academy in Aarhus - these are presumably five people who know their stuff. That, in itself, doesn't automatically make for good music, in fact, it could even be a little off putting for some punk rock purists, but luckily this lot can also pen a tune, and pen it well. And for a group of trained musicians, its a surprisingly restrained and minimal collection. Synthesisers, moog, dowbeat vocals and unusual jazz drum patterns are the key characteristics of Lowly's music. It's cool and atmospheric, in that uniquely Scandinavian way (it will be no surprise that the record was co-produced with Anders Boll, engineer/soundman to Efterklang) but it also displays fleeting glimpses of offbeat pop (I picked up hints of Bjork, Hannah Cohen and Depeche Mode at various points).
Lowly are made up of Nanna Schannong (lead vocals, guitar), Soffie Viemose (lead vocals, laptop), Kasper Staub (synthesisers), Thomas Lund (bass, Moog) and Steffen Lundtoft (drums, percussion) and it's the vocals of Schannong and Viemose that really stand out. The songs drift between distant ice-cold electro ("Still Life") and dreamy indie-pop ("Pommerate") but the vocals of Schannong and Viemose are a comforting ever-present. The tempo is generally relaxed and downbeat with the band rarely accelerating into second gear, but i get the feeling that the band know that this is where their strengths lie. In fact, when Lowly do try something a bit more energetic, as in the club-infused "Word", the results aren't quite as exhilarating, it's like the band don't quite commit to it in the same way that they do with the more maudlin numbers. That being said, with Heba, Lowly have hit the ground running and produced a snapshot of their work which seems like the complete picture.
"Stubborn Day" - slow and mysterious, this album high point is enhanced by it's glistening, uplifting chorus and metallic keyboard interlude.