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.