Photo by Erlend Eggestad
Quite recently, I had a discussion with a guy, who used to live in Aarhus, but moved. He couldn’t acknowledge the fact, that Aarhus has improved a lot the last couple of years. I gave him a lot of examples on both bands and environments giving that nerve we’ve been missing, but no; Aarhus was just another provincial town not really contributing to the export of Danish music.
I don’t expect you to like Aarhus, and I certainly don’t expect you to know all the bands from this town – but if you wanna start a discussion on the Danish music scene, you gotta at least know bands such as Liss, Yung, and Lowly, just to name a few.
Last mentioned has come a long way before the release of the debut album ‘Heba’ last Friday. The release day illustrated it quite well, with Lowly performing alongside Copenhagen Phil. in the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music’s concert hall – just like Mew and When Saints Go Machine did it with this project. Lowly’s a big name now.
It all started with the release of ‘Daydreamers’ back in 2014, which was followed by a couple of singles and then an EP. None of the first three singles made the EP, so it’s always new material with this band. The material already released and their hyped live performances already got the five songwriters a long way, but it’s time to have a look at the debut album, which is supposed to kick in some doors all around the world.
Now, it’s not like the singles already released from this album; ‘Deer Eyes’, ‘Word’ and ‘Prepare The Lake’ are as strong as you could expect. They haven’t got “hit potential’ if you ask me – and I’m not sure they’re supposed to have exactly that. I believe that Lowly made it their quest to find their sound, and then develop that and create good music from that. As simple as that. And you know what? That’s exactly what they’ve done with ‘Heba’.
They’ve discovered what works for them; both in terms of ‘sound’ and balancing the changing vocals between Nanna Schannong and Soffie Viemose. That sort of seems like their starting point, then letting Thomas Lund and Kasper Staub set the scene and then creating space for Steffen Lundtoft to do what he does best. It works! The thing is, though, it works when putting the songs together, but it’s not like there are any highlights on the album. It’s meant to be heard as a whole, and that’s where ‘Heba’ is absolutely incredible.
A song like ‘Deer Eyes’ is absolutely phenomenal, when in between ‘Still Life’ and ‘Look at the Sun’. It just makes sense. It’s a dangerous game being so close to what can get a bit, well, boring – but when you succeed in creating a brilliant album without any real highlights, you deserve a positive review.
The songs are, which is almost a signature thing with Lowly, all wide in their soundscapes. You almost want to be in the middle of the song and then just… twirl. Yeah, twirl around with your eyes closed – but still doing awkward dance moves. You can picture it, right? But the awkwardness is all on you, as Lowly delivers music as controlled as it can be – you’re in safe hands, my friend, as you’re twirling around there.
The build up towards the final three songs is just phenomenal, and when reaching the last tones of ‘Not So Great Afer All’, you’re left with a feeling, that you haven’t heard a band like this before. The album might be a bit ‘controlled’ and without ‘highlights, but that doesn’t really matter here. They’ve created a sound on ‘Heba’, and you never want it to end. Great job, guys!
The record is out on all sorts of streaming services, and you can catch them live in Aarhus in March, when they’ll be visiting Tape.
Lowly's about to kick in doors all over the world after the release of this debut album. It might be an album without highlights, but as a whole, it's brilliant! (5/6)