On “Propagation”, taken from the forthcoming album Nootropics, the passion and atmosphere of vocalist Jana Hunter is deafening. Patient and heady, Lower Dens lull listeners into a trance with its most fragile and fractured work to date. As desolate verses with wobbly pedal effects and droning guitars emit a dimming metallic light, you get the feeling that Hunter has lost a significant battle. She’s left spent and weary-eyed with absolutely nothing left to deliver a counter-argument – it’s in her delivery, one that signifies the sound of loss…or giving up altogether. But therein lies its beauty. The sadness and fragility of these sounds linger, expand and envelope, and it’s all centered on an event that we truly believe we share with the artist.
I wouldn’t call Lower Dens’ brand of gentle rock “dreamy” because that would signify hope or an out-of-body experience. But somehow the group has taken the precious elements of “dream pop” and clenched them so tightly that there is literally no Heaven, no Las Vegas, just a cold world mirrored by this band’s brilliant grasp of empty space versus oversaturated guitar effects. Here’s an example where less is definitely more, and “Propagation” will leave you spent. words/ s mcdonald