Review: Lower Dens – The Twin Hand Movement

The Twin Hand Movement is just the record I needed in my bleary, under-slept state this morning. Each of these eleven tracks glides with a dreamy, seamless momentum, with 4/4 beats in mindless but functional loop, and ghostly guitars wafting in delicate billows of melody. It’s a pop record at its core – melodically quite instinctive and straightforward – with a light veil of fuzz, chorus and reverb draped modestly over the top.

“Pleasant” was the word that first popped into my head as the soft tones of opener “Blue & Silver” initially floated into view, and for the most part, Lower Dens never stray too far from this characteristic. A lot of the time it works a treat – I have to admit to getting rather caught up in the pretty and brittle progressions of “I Get Nervous” and “Truss Me”. But occasionally The Twin Hand Movement feels as though it could benefit from being dragged down from its gentle, airy bliss and pointed in more emotionally dynamic directions – for the six minutes that the album dips into the gloomy atmosphere of “Plastic & Powder”, it’s an instantly captivating switch, and the album could have done with plenty more moments like the ghoulish sway of two chords present here.

But none of this detracts from the fact that vocalist Jana Hunter puts in an excellent performance throughout. Her tone is soft and angelic, with ever so slight breathy and weathered overtones, and the touches of chorus and echo are comparatively sparse when put alongside other artists occupying the “drone-pop” territory. Her melodies are well worked too, and the moments at which she chooses to soar above the music or bury herself within it are nicely judged.

“Tea Lights” is probably the stand-out, taking on a jammed-out propulsion and working addictive looped guitar leads over the last two minutes. Like most tracks on the record, the music feels contented and relaxed, floating and bopping gently in a pleasant daydream state, and whilst this doesn’t always offer the most bold and diverse results, The Twin Hand Movement succeeds in being the cosy and welcoming album it seems to have set out to be.