[sic] Magazine

Lower – Seek Warmer Climes

Seek Warmer Climes is the sound of Matador once again dipping their toes into the icy water of Danish punk. It’s a close-knit community too for Lower are comprised of various local bands (most notably Vår and Sexdrome) and the eye-catching cover for this debut LP is by Emdal, who is also responsible for one of Vår’s videos as well as the cover of Iceage’s similar You’re Nothing LP.

Matador took the plunge on the back of the furious 2012 EP Walk On Heads from which the unhinged and screeching “Craver” here comes. In general however, the arty Seek Warmer Climes does just that, dialling back the noisy assault in favour of Wire and/or Eagulls-like post-punk discord. “Stagnancy is for the lazy” as frontman Adrian Toubro’s has himself said, his snarling tenor much more audible this time around. All the same Seek Warmer Climes is a decidedly retro listen. The nagging drums and tumbling riffs of the shouty “Another Life” are heavy with 80s inner-city angles. The detached “Soft Option” bumbles along a very Cure-like bassline too, Toubro gritting his teeth for a moody near spoken-word.

The problem is though that this relentless oppression wears you down like a wet weekend. The bleak “Lost Weight, Perfect Skin” drudges along on drizzling riffs. The minimal shudder of “Unkempt And Uncaring” is almost undone with jarring stop-start melodies. And, what intense seven-minute album centrepiece “Expanding Horizons (Dar Es Salaam)” gains from shimmering guitar noise, spidery bass and huge cymbal splashes it equally lacks for want of urgency or aggression – its tale of Toubro’s time in Tanzania and his lucky escape from a kidnapping failing to fully ignite on record. Ultimately, just as dipping your toes in icy water can leave you numb so does too much of Seek Warmer Climes’ musical misanthropy.

Best tracks: “Another Life” and “Soft Option”

~Seek Warmer Climes is released 16th June 2014 on Matador.~