From her earliest freak-folk beginnings, Jana Hunter has mastered the beautiful bummer jam. With the rest of Lower Dens behind her, 2010's Twin Hand Movement was a near-perfect sleeper. Tracks like "Tea Lights" and "Hospice Gates" drew you in, heavy with lo-fi dread and malformed longing. On Nootropics, her vision's gone beastmode. On "In the End is the Beginning is the End," the 12-minute closer, she sings, "I feel different now than I did before/My hands are strong/My teeth are sharp." Production is crisp, reverb is scraped away, and suddenly, things get epic. On "Propagation," the guitar's voice duets with Hunter's low vox, choral echoes ebb from a distant nowhere, and the song swells steadily, determined to pull you under. The dreamwave immersion and haunting power of Hunter's vocals invite comparisons to fellow Baltimore mood-wizards Beach House, but whereas Teen Dream aimed for beauty even at its darkest, Lower Dens keeps things weird. Influenced by darkwave electronica and Wham City's creepoid punk scene, the driving energy comes from a rhythm section that propels songs like "Brains" and "Stem" forward with anxious urgency and even makes "Lion in Winter Pt. 2" danceable. Get your Siouxsie Sioux moves ready.
LOWER DENS + VIOLENS | Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston| April 29 @ 9 pm | 18+ | $12 | 617.566.9014