Across their decades making music together, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker have occupied sonic extremes. At its heart, Low is a massively influential and prolific slowcore project—a duo notoriously known for cranking volume down to battle noisy bar crowds, delivering their signature harmonies at whisper-level. But Low’s got another side that sound spins with hurricane force, driven by pounding rhythm and distorted drones. Sparhawk and Parker appear comfortable operating in both environments. It’s this impressive range that the duo showcase on their new album, HEYWHAT.
Low introduces immediate chaos with the opening track, “White Horses.” Static feedback and walls of noisy guitar are cut with bars of bare vocals and backing glitch, a structure which then bleeds into the album’s second track, “I Can Wait.” Together, these pieces exemplify Low’s ability to maintain threads of beauty amid unraveling, degrading compositions. HEYWHAT‘s path winds through numerous loud/soft peaks and valleys, including two notable stand out tracks: “All Night” and lead single “Days Like These.” Both songs feature moments of tenderness punctuated by maximalist blasts, with Sparhawk and Parker rending each melody in two before stitching it back together. Near the album’s close, Low’s dynamism shows up a final time when the duo opts to smash together “Don’t Walk Away” and “More”—a ballad and a metal riff, respectively. But as you might guess, the pieces are somehow made perfectly complementary. These hymns, beautiful and chaotic, are outright stunning.
Out on September 10th via Sub Pop, HEY WHAT is another sure-to-be classic in Low’s canon.