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Indie/Indie Rock Punk/Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Low Hummer

When I first discovered Hull’s synth-tastic rockers ‘Low Hummer’ they were named Le Bête Blooms. Since watching their name and lineup change over the years, I’ve been absolutely fascinated by their almost in-between sound of Pulp’s ‘Common People’ and Joy Division’s ‘Isolation’. A complete throwback to 80s and 90s British music, but in the most relevant way for today. Sounds to drag you back and lyrics to push you forward.

Inspired by the likes of Elastica, Pixies, LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads, and with a tasty vocal dynamic from two lead vocalists Daniel Mawer and Aimée Duncan, Low Hummer deliver this beautiful contrasting sound of angst with snarky delivery, as well as taking the complete lead in some songs and really showing off what they’ve got to offer.

‘Sometimes I Wish (I Was A Different Person)’ is a brilliant commentary on modern consumerism and the way society affects things such as personal states and the way we take in mainstream media, with the band stating that “The song is about how we consume news from screens and the way in which this can detract from our personal relationships and real lives”. Musically it’s just so refreshing, which is weird to say about such a nostalgic sound but it’s such a dead-on specific sound that died with the age of the new millennium.

Take Arms is their latest single and my favourite. This is the track that got me into Low Hummer, or Le Bête Blooms as they were known back then. The fat synth line that carries the song, the fed-up and anger filled message, the devilish duo of male and female vocals and the characteristics of this small and skint northerner band, what’s not to like? The guitars that pick up in the chorus, thick distortion and the almost agitated synth-ish guitar lead that fills in the deeper parts of it, I can’t physically show a chef’s kiss right here but trust me, that’s what this song does to you.

Picture Bliss takes a bit of a different turn to the likes of the tracks I’ve glossed over above, but it’s all within the Low Hummer neighbourhood, a bit more traditionally indie, evoking some of those gorgeous Pixies vibes. You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a sweet romantic coming of age song upon first listen, however as said by Daniel in context to Picture Bliss; “I wrote the song about two strangers who find each other moments before the world self-destructs, they realise how lucky their lives have been, but still feel cheated to have only just met each other moments before the planet collapses. I tend not to write happy songs… but I’d like to think it serves as a nice optimistic song if you don’t bother to read into the subject matter!” However, if you read into the song, it’s clear to me that the band have a natural knack for writing great anthems for the 20th-century kid stuck in a dystopian 21st century now. 

I’ll wrap this up with the first single ever released under the name Low Hummer just over a year ago now, ‘Don’t You Ever Sleep’. Lyrically about the modernity of impulse buying, and how everything is marketed as the thing that you need and will change your life! When in reality it’s all just clever advertising. It’s somehow very apt for the quarantined life too. The repeated lines of “We are bored” really helps the narrative of society now and the way we consume things, and as soon as we’re done with that medium, that’s it, and move on. Drawing attention to this sort of issue with passion and anger would normally come off as a bit in your face, but Low Hummer’s attitude, with the combination of their sarcastic and deadpan delivery embedded within their lack of patience and real anger, makes the message come across a lot more subtle than most bands now would convey.

I have no doubt that being a group of people from the north of England helps the anger rooted in the words within the tunes, especially just from looking at the way the north has been treated during the current pandemic. But they use this fusion of moods to create hallowing tunes to get straight into your head, and really pulls off such an interesting and poignant practice for songwriting and getting their message across. 

Low Hummer is a band that would have absolutely thrived 30 years ago, yet after all that time, I feel they’re in the right time and the right place to do so now. Maybe a bit of old school is what we need to progress amongst the abundance of vast progression and future thinking. After all, sometimes history needs a repeat in order to learn a lesson. Fundamentally, Low Hummer is a band you should really keep a keen eye on because they’re bound to fly. I for one cannot wait for what the future holds for this band, a real needle in a haystack that’s slowly poking it’s way out for something grand.

Don’t forget to follow Low Hummer on Spotify.

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Indie/Indie Rock Reviews

Review: Beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers

Fake It Flowers the debut album by the ever so popular Gen Z icon Beabadoobee has finally dropped and it’s everything we could have wanted and then some. Bea’s transformation from indie bedroom pop artist to full on emotional grunge rocker is complete, if you’ve been watching Bea for a while now it’ll feel as if she’s finally turned super saiyan, I mean she has the blonde hair now so maybe. But I’m getting ahead of myself, this isn’t someone who’s changed randomly, the natural progression of Beabadoobee’s musical career is just her finding her true self sonically, she’s perfected her craft and the album is one hell of a bang to showcase that. 

Fake It Flowers is a river of 90s grunge majesty, but with slick modern production. I hear the term ‘bubblegrunge’ when referring to Beabadoobee’s material and it’s a pretty solid umbrella term I think we can all get down with, but 20 year old rock star goes down a treat just the same. Bea manages to gather an audience of listeners from so many different genres, from kids who adore the bedroom pop-rock sound to adults who can’t get enough of the modern grunge sound people haven’t really heard much of really since the 90s ended, but her fans come together and bathe in the tranquility of the tracks pinned down by Bea and her band. 

The album kicks off with lead single Care, a classically cutesy Beabadoobee verse that then quickly builds up to a monster of a chorus that begs you to head bang and dance around your room. A perfect opener that shows off the sombre guitars and beautiful melodies we’ve known to love, and then to turn that idea on it’s head and shove the heavier guitars and make the rocker chick really resonate with you, especially with the lyrical complexities of the track, and over the whole album. Care takes us straight into the absolute anthem that is Worth It that just makes you crave to be in a mosh pit again belting out to the bonafide deal of a Beabadoobee show. 

Dye It Red is another stomper to make you punch the air, where the sound of the album really makes itself present, the drums that bang around your brain complimenting the guitars so well, but interwoven with the glorious bass that together ground you whilst the shoegaze-like guitars wisp you away. The production is consistent and absolutely mental, the way tracks such as Worth It, Dye It Red and Together just pop out, it’s almost as if you can feel each instrument around you. Dye It Red (like most Beabadoobee songs) lyrically is on another level, magnificent melodies disguise the deeper lyrics upon first listens, and on a further inspection you hear fragments of Bea’s life. “Fuck me when I’m keen, not according to your beer”, a glimpse into the everyday objectifying of women, especially when it comes men under the influence of alcohol. “Let me cut my hair and dye it red if I want to, I haven’t felt myself so comfortable, I’m not stopping now” A poetically personal but genuine message that people, especially young girls should do what they want, for themselves that makes them feel comfortable. 

Charlie Brown confronts past struggles with self harm, the line “throw it away” in the chorus repeated is a real heart wrencher that hits in so many ways, be it referring to the struggles we deal with, or the literal tools we have to our hand. Bea stated in an interview that Charlie Brown was her first window into understanding mental health, so naturally it’s a bound link for her. Mental health in young people today has never been more crucial and if you are struggling, never be ashamed to reach out for help. No day, person or life is perfect and the sooner we as a society openly accept that, the sooner the stigma of talking about mental struggles can become normalised and more people can get the help they need. 

Emo Song talks about the effects that manipulative past relationships can have and hold onto you even far after those relationships have ended. With ambient sounds kicking off this track, with quieter dynamics compared to previous tracks on the album, it really helps hone in the vulnerability and sensitive state you can be left in after an experience like that, matched with the lyrics “I lost myself in cosmic dust”, “You’re coming back again/I don’t want you back again” and “Just the thought of you doesn’t stop, you’re not a person or a thing, just the thought of you on my limbs, it’s all your fault/It’s all your fault” really shatter your nerves in a way that can only be applauded to Beabadoobee but maybe a hug to her and whoever can relate. Sorry follows up the quieter dynamics from Emo Song but pushes it with strings that just blend every part of this track together. 

Further Away blissfully takes the quieter sounds of the previous two tracks but manages to become a sort of lullaby but again the actual nature of the song completely contradicts the sleepy sounds and melody that gently puts it’s arm over your shoulder as a masquerade for the twists of the lyrics of the song. Horen Sarrison takes what you’ve just heard but being a love song about Bea’s boyfriend and longtime creative collaborator Soren Harrison, really is the arm on your shoulder you almost need after the real rollercoaster that has been the emotional tones of Fake It Flowers, but all the same showing that vulnerable side to Bea. “Eyes so green, I don’t know what that means, but you make me feel like all this is real/But I don’t want you to feel comfortable, and I want you to know that I’m in love” patched with “You are the song that I need for my mental state, you are the bus that stayed when I thought I was late, so I’m convinced you’re from outer space”. All in all you really get a sense of the wanderlust and emotion between the potent pairing which is really quite beautiful to gauge an understanding of.

Together takes us back to the energy from the start of the album, with pretty intense Smashing Pumpkins and Pavement vibes that really come together (no pun intended) under the influence of Bea’s voice, melodies that enter the third dimension during the chorus that makes your chest tighten up and mouth grin with glee. 

The album closes with Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene, a song that manages to combine the dreamy soundscapes from the likes of Sorry and Further Away, with the noise and exclamations of Together and Worth It, all whilst starting with Bea saying the vocals sound like a fart? Absolute insanity, and the even more crazy part? It kinda works and just adds to the tonality of the entire song, and after the adventure that is the experience of Fake It Flowers, the playful intro is quite a satisfying start to the song and end of the album. Lyrically Bea talks about the love of her life and how she knows what her kids names are going to be, being Yoshimi, Forest and Magdalene. Which if you didn’t quite catch there, you’ll be pleased to know there’s quite a few reminders of that throughout the song. It’s a fun more uplifting song that still captures the softer side of Bea in the verses but manages to stay fun in the typical Beabadoobee manner. 

The level of music within this album completely outshines previous work, the production by Joseph Rodgers who’s work has been on Beabadoobee’s prior work as well as with The Kooks, Graham Coxon and Liam Gallagher. As well as Pete Robertson producer and former drummer of the incredible band The Vaccines. Together they’ve managed to help mould Bea’s sound and create something breathtaking that just makes you wanna sit back and admire in awe before the beat of the songs convince you to get up and dance. Bea’s band are also phenomenal on the album, nothing feels like filler, every instrument has a reason for being there and playing what they play. Drummer Louis Semlekan-Faith really get to flaunt his talent throughout the album, especially on tracks such as Worth It and Sorry. Lead guitarist Jacob Bugden adds some firey licks all over the record, the riffs in Care and Dye It Red, as well as playing almost countermelodies to Bea’s vocals and bringing out another dimension to the world that is Fake It Flowers. And wrapping it all together is the chick who plays Bass, Eliana Sewell. Who’s playing just completely sticks out and almost becomes a part of the percussion at times, intricate Bass lines that just go straight to your head and carry the song like the foundations of a building. And all of this is snuggly embedded within the mind of Beatrice Laus to create a wonderful band experience and listening escapade. This was an album where a lot of love and care was put into it, a lot of raw emotion and quite obviously, a lot of fun making too. 

Fake It Flowers is an LP for the young adults of today (especially young women), the intimate and internal struggles we go through, soundtracked to your favourite 90s films. It’s a record that is just so brilliantly constructed from start to finish, that explores such heavy topics, all whilst staying such a wonderfully quirky collection of songs. A stoner rock lullaby, that keeps you slow dancing till the early hours of the morning, but on loud will definitely keep up your parents and neighbours, and give you the adrenaline rush needed to boost your mentality to get you through whatever else this year has to throw at us.