Album: Seek Warmer Climes
On June 17th, Danish post-punk quartet Lower will release their debut record Seek Warmer Climes on Matador Records. In many ways, it feels like the record is arriving at the perfect time for the band. There has been a massive amount of critical acclaim surrounding fellow Copenhageners Iceage and Var (the former’s last album was also released on Matador), but their nihilistic tendencies have wound up isolating them from anyone made uncomfortable by ‘bleak music’. Climes takes the best elements of these bands, and adds a humanistic quality that gives Lower a definite advantage.
At the best of times, Seek Warmer Climes is both a tribute to the icier forefathers of punk, and a welcome update of the genre. Opening track “Another Life” begins with a primitive drumbeat and a simple modulated guitar riff, existing in an alternate dimension where East Bay Ray and Bernard Sumner have somehow traded bands. It then leads listeners down a completely unexpected path via fractured chord changes and vocal rhythms. Take any song from Climes, and you’ll find Lower running the gamut of emotions in a period of 3 minutes. Songs can go from anthemic to gloomy without warning, and the fact that they manage to do this successfully is a testament to their skills as songwriters.
Where the lyrics of their contemporaries tend to be belligerent and alienating, Lower’s are emotive, and at times, self-deprecating. The label’s press release describes how singer Adrian Toubro “channels the romance and drama of great singer-songwriters, from late-period Scott Walker to Bryan Ferry”. Indeed, he fills each song on Climes with as much emotion as these singers, and the band pulls their weight equally through juxtaposition, like the best moments of Walker and Ferry’s careers. Halfway through “Another Life”, Toubro sings “you couldn’t make it on your own, without him you’re nothing, I could act as your better half, speak when you’re speechless”. Reading these lyrics and looking back, it’s hard not to think of Descendents’ “Hope”. Just as they stood out from their peers by revealing their inner turmoil, Lower are poised to find themselves in a similar position.