Give a warm welcome to JANNIK who will be from now on sharing his thoughts about Danish music on the blog! He decided to start with LOWER.
I can’t remember the last time there was so many exciting things to look forward to in Danish music. The times are right, andLower seems to be just the right band. Their blend of various aggressive influences from the last decades (post-punk, hardcore, punk) takes the listener to well-known territories, but after just a few listens you find yourself turning the records over and over, craving for yet another fix of apathetic punk-perfection like the opener “Craver” on their first EP “Walk on Heads”.
Judging by appearance they could easily win the title of “most British band in Denmark” – sharing some of the coolness and energy as Mark E. Smith (icon and leader of post-punk band The Fall).
The music kicks in more tight and dark, though, and lead singer Adrian Toubro’s vocal comes in much more desperate and intense which supports the distressing lyrics. On stage they still retain some of the looseness and energy, but on record they take it one step further towards the basics – one example being the A-side, “Someone’s got it in for me”, from their latest 7” released in November 2012, which begins with some well-controlled feedback sounds from the guitar, before the bass sets an irresistible, punchy rhythm for the rest of the song. It all culminates in a mellow chorus that threatens to stay in your head for the rest of the day. Not one wasted tone, and the highlight so far from the band.
Though they’ve only released one cassette tape and two 7”s (with a total of 6 tracks) Lower has already been appointed the titles of “rising” and “best new music” by Pitchfork. And after the success of Iceage the Copenhagen punk scene seems to be on the radar of all the international music press desperately looking for the next big thing. Yes, there are similarities in sound and inspiration between the two bands, and they’re both released on Escho Records, but when the band steps on stage most comparisons fail. The teenage aggression is replaced by more mature sounds – both lyrically (perhaps excluding the “Television is gay, television is gay” chorus of Escape) and musically.
At the end of the day Lower doesn’t need all the genres, moods and surroundings. I even watched them play outside on a sunny spring day, and here it was clear that after all they’re just a really, really well-playing punk-rock band.
There’s a touch of arrogance in the way the play and sound, and if most newer punk bands in the world would look up for a moment they would notice Lower walking around on their heads – simply just a little bit better in every possible way.
They might still be searching for their own place in the music landscape, but Lower has all the skills and – hopefully – also the will to do it. Keep your eyes open, and be sure to give their debut album a listen when it finally arrives (…their last facebook-update from the 8th of April read: “Some rather exciting news coming soon.”) It is definitely one of the most awaited records in 2013 on the Danish music scene.
For followers in the U.S. and Canada it’s also worth noticing that they’re going to tour the east coast with Iceage in June.