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Review: 'LOWLY'

-  Label: 'Bella Union'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '12th April 2019'

Our Rating:
Although one possible meaning of 'Hifalutin' is 'pompous' another dictionary definition is 'affectedly genteel' and the second of these more accurately characterizes the delicate, at times overly precious, textures served up on the record.

While embracing the potential of synthesized soundscapes (courtesy of Kasper Staub) the impetus is towards creating a pastoral, anti-urban atmosphere seeking tranquillity far from the madding (and maddening) crowds. In 12:36, for instance, there is the pointed observation that "there's too many humans in here".

Significantly, the peace-seeking Danish quintet wanted to avoid the risk of feeling hemmed in or restricted by a traditional recording studio. Instead, they chose to explore the possibilities offered by a 150 square meter warehouse on the outskirts of Aarhus in Denmark.

In what sounds a bit like a party game, producer Anders Boll, placed microphones in all the vast room's nooks and crannies. The result, says guitarist and co-lead singer Nanna Schannong, was that "we became much more tolerant of each other's diversity, and dared to give each other space". And if you want a one other adjective to encapsulate the album's dreamy pop sound, then 'spacious' is as good as any.

This is the band's second album, the follow up to 2017's well-received debut 'Heba'. Its fourteen songs (all sung in English) are built around literate, abstract lyrics which include references to works by experimental poet Inger Christensen and Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi. This deliberately leaves listeners free to decide the meanings for themselves. As Soffie Viemose, Lowly's other female vocalist, explains: “We’d rather show something than say something quite literally”.

We are, however, privy to the fact that Stephen contains reflections on the death of Professor Stephen Hawking and In The Hearts is about how love can transcend everything and connect us.

Overall, the warmth of the melodies and mood ensure that this is the kind of blissed-out record you can get lost in and offers an escape route into a sonic world of shoegazy wonder.

Hear Hifalutin on Bandcamp
  author: Martin Raybould

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LOWLY - Hifalutin