Low: Hey What – Undeniably one of the best bands in the world

Fri, Sep 10, 2021, 07:00

   
 

Album:
Hey What

Artist:
Low

Label:
Sub Pop

Genre:
Alternative

To hell with the never-ending hoopla over Bob Dylan. Low are the finest musical act to ever crawl out of Duluth, Minnesota. The husband-and-wife duo of Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk have created some of the most powerful alternative music of the past 30 years. At the turn of the millennium and early 2000s alone, they released three stone-cold modern classics, Secret Name (1999), Things We Lost in the Fire (2001) and Trust (2003).

In 2018, Low took one of their sharpest turns left yet on another astounding album, Double Negative, which signalled a dramatic transition from minimal guitar music into more expansive and experimental terrain and blending electronica and noise. 

Double Negative was quite rightly hailed as an album of that year, and Hey What is a terrific successor. Produced by BJ Burton, best known for working with Bon Iver and Charlie XCX (and very un-Low like blue chip artists such as Taylor Swift and Eminem), Parker and Sparhawk explore the abrasive extremes of the guitar and utilise the studio as an instrument. “I want to see technology break as much as it has broken me,” the latter has wryly commented on their current approach. 

The sweet, singular beauty of the vocals shines through and is complemented rather than obscured by spiky blasts of disorientating distorted noise. These startling juxtapositions create a soundscape unlike any of their previous albums – which, quite simply, conclusively prove that Low are undeniably one of the best bands in the world.