Singe Review: [lowhopes] - This is the Last Time
Who are [lowhopes]?
[lowhopes] are a brand new melodic hardcore band from Birmingham inspired by the likes of Counterparts, Code Orange and Casey.
“This is the Last Time” is the first single from [lowhopes], released May 15th 2020.
So, let’s take a look…
My initial thoughts on the release were that I enjoyed the tunefulness of the track. It hits a good balance between that and its heavier elements. The vocals are very distinct – I would go as far as to say unique. They are echoey which resonates with its DIY nature and also gives them an eerie quality. Overall, I think the track is very easy listening with its catchy (albeit simple) two step riffs.
On Second Thought…
But let us delve a little deeper. After giving the track several more listens and noting my thoughts throughout, this is what I have to say…
We start off with a fade in which I really enjoy from introductory songs. I think it’s a great way to start off your very first single signifying your arrival on the music scene. To me, it almost says “are you ready for this? Oh, too late here it is”. You’re then immediately introduced to that two step riff that will carry us throughout the rest of the song. Although [lowhopes] are yet to release new music, you can already tell the directions they’re going to be taking it in and really hear those influences from the hardcore groove giants. It’s not until about 30 seconds in that we meet these interesting vocals. Now, I don’t claim to be a musical know it all or even a more niche hardcore connoisseur, but I can’t come up with any bands using these type of vocals off the top of my head (if you can please expand my working knowledge of edgy vocals). They almost feel whispered, but clearly being shouted at the same time which is a bit trippy. As I’ve already mentioned, the echoey element to them makes them feel quite eerie and spooky, a classic trope of gothic/alternative culture and I enjoy the connotations of that – accidental or not.
On the whole the single is musically quite simple. There aren’t any shocks to the system after the introduction to the unique vocals, it does feel a little one note, but it works and, hey, if it’s not broke don’t fix it! The simplicity does lend itself to the easy listening quality of the single which you don’t always find especially in such a heavy, jarring genre. Sometimes you don’t want to be audibly challenged you just want something pleasing on the ear. I often resort to more mainstream artistry for this but bringing it into the genre that I truly love could be exactly what I need, and exactly what [lowhopes] could potentially give us.
I decided to turn to the lyrics which are provided on bandcamp. It’s all very well and good enjoying a song, but often the lyrics are where you make those deeper connections. It can often be a bit lost within hardcore and other alternative genres were the vocals are more raspy/screamy/less audible in general.
What I found was a classic narrative of feeling outcast and troubled with lyrics such as “judgements and never ending lies” and as the song moves on the narrative moving towards feeling increasingly empowered to stand up to those knocking them down - “This is the last time you step up to me” being the lyric that the title of this song comes from. However, the second verse seems to contradict that slightly, with a more confused journey of events. Lyrics such as “are you gonna change, I’m not gonna change” seem to oppose the before mentioned narrative of growth and empowerment. The part that confuses me most though is the lyrics “you got a badge and gun titled to your name” later followed by “you should’ve heard the screams, blood down his face”. These feel more like an ACAB narrative than a personal growth one. It’s almost as if two ideas have been moulded into one and I’m not sure if it works. I would’ve enjoyed these elements to be split and explored deeper and separately to avoid this confusion.
Overall, I really enjoy the song. It may be simple but who doesn’t love simplicity if it’s good? That’s what easily accessible alt music is built on. I do have to say that I wish it was available on more platforms other than just bandcamp for easy access to streaming and so I could add it to my usual playlists. [lowhopes] are one to keep an eye on in the Birmingham scene especially once live music returns and we can all safely spin kick one another consensually again.
You can listen to "This is the Last Time" here on bandcamp:
And you can find Low Hopes on Instagram here:
If you’re a small band, promotion company, record company or gig photographer (especially local to the Midlands) drop me an email -which you can find on my contact/pr page - or dm me on insta and we can chat about working together!