Lower Dens – Nootropics

Album Review by Finbarr Bermingham | 24 Apr 2012
Album title: Nootropics
Artist: Lower Dens
Label: Domino
Release date: 30 April

Nootropics is named after a kind of drug which alters the brain's supply of neurochemicals in order to boost memory and intelligence; and right enough, it plays out like a trip. It has two distinct personalities which on the surface seem contradictory, but which in reality, inhabit the same space gloriously. The Yin is the percussive, Kraut-ish sound on the superlative Brains and infectious Candy. For the Yang, see the synth-heavy lugubrious dream-pop that percolates Propagation and swathes of Side B.

Lead singer Jana Hunter, a member of Devendra Banhart’s rolling posse, has fleeted between projects for years. Nootropics, though, is one of the most finely composed records we’ve heard this year. Freak folk, this is not. Case in point: the drift from the fuzzy warm stupor of Lion In Winter Pt. 1 to the punchy, Errors-esque effervescence of Pt. 2; a transition that’s too purposeful, too brilliant to be anything but deliberate.