Lowly bring their own brand of polished pop moments on debut album Heba…
The Nordic regions seem to have a particular knack for combining pop music with moodiness and reflection. Denmark’s Lowly are a case in point. Originally appearing in 2014, the 5-piece outfit discovered a chemistry for textured soundscapes and emotive vocals.
Their debut album release Heba is a fine distillation of that sound spread out among 11 tracks. There’s a confident production at work here which manages to gives Lowly’s tunes a robustness with a clean, vibrant quality to them.
‘Still Life’ which opens the album appears to evoke similarities with Felt Mountain-era Goldfrapp, although there’s a much more grounded approach to the style of composition. There’s an ethereal vocal, care of Nanna Schannong, over tumbling percussion and melodic synth fills.
‘Deer Eyes’, meanwhile, has a polished indie pop appeal that brings to mind the likes of Camera Obscura. Odd synth rhythms ease in and out while the machine-like percussion industriously chugs away beneath it all.
Heba is an album that’s also not afraid to use space and much of the material here benefits from that separation. Odd little electronic moments drop in unexpectedly while washes of sound give the whole thing a strong foundation. It’s summed up on the subtle pop of tracks such as ‘Look At The Sun’ “We’re spacing out/It’s for the best now”. Indeed.
There’s a more electronic sheen to ‘Mornings’ with its buzzy synth rhythms. But the album also boasts quieter moments, such as the ethereal beauty of ‘Cait #2’.
Elsewhere, the tight melodies of ‘Prepare The Lake’ serves up one of the album’s highlights. “Everything fits in a shape” offers Schannong over layered elements that include buzzy synths and shimmering guitars.
‘Word’ delivers a mesmerising arpeggio melody to it augmented by big synth moments and even bigger percussive sounds.
Closing out proceedings, ‘Not So Great After All’ has a deceiving simplicity to it with various oddly mismatching musical elements (including an insistent morse code) that somehow all come together in the mix.
Heba is a subtle yet confident album that ticks all the right boxes for intelligent pop and compelling song composition.
Heba is out now on Bella Union