Low continue to surprise on their thirteenth album HEY WHAT, feeding off the same charged energy that made Double Negative so impactful

Album Review by Tony Inglis | 06 Sep 2021
  • Low - Hey What
Album title: HEY WHAT
Artist: Low
Label: Sub Pop
Release date: 10 Sep

Low’s last record, Double Negative, was filled with disintegrating and corroded music, songs that were haunted by evil spirits and unfinished business, consumed by tempests and fire. The melodies and voices – trapped under a cacophony of indecipherable instrumentation, as tracks leaked into one another – struggled to the surface and then died away. It was a left turn degradation of their melodic slowcore, and some of the most original music in ages.

HEY WHAT is a natural progression, feeding off the same charged energy. However, now the ghosts have escaped and are in chorus as clearly and piercingly as they can muster. The rumble that underlies these devotional – and sometimes doubting – hymns of faith now crackles into place rather than dissolving away. The static of opener White Horses snaps almost into a beat. When there’s percussion, it’s not just drums, but thunderous biblical crashing. When there’s electronics, it isn’t just guitars and synths – it’s the one clear transmission from another plane. It gives the record a brighter disposition than its predecessor (though darkness still looms ominously), even if it’s been put together with the same tools, whatever they are. 

To be making music that can truly surprise you 13 albums and 28 years into a career is a testament to Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s continued dedication to their craft.

Listen to: White Horses, More, The Price You Pay (It Must Be Wearing Off)