Lower Dens started out in the early days of this decade as a really great Baltimore dreampop band. Over the years, they’ve released three albums, and they’ve gradually grown and mutated into something else. It’s now been more than four years since Lower Dens released their album Escape From Evil. And today, they’ve announced that they’ll follow it up this summer with the new LP The Competition.
According to a press release, The Competition is a straight-up pop album built around the ravages of capitalism. Of the LP, bandleader Jana Hunter — who also, for the first time, appears on the album cover — says:
The issues that have shaped my life, for better or for worse, have to do with coming from a family and a culture that totally bought into this competitive mindset. I was wild and in a lot of pain as a kid; home life was very bleak, and pop songs were a guaranteed escape to a mental space where beauty, wonder, and love were possible. I wanted to write songs that might have the potential to do that.
First single “Young Republicans” is a genuine bop. It’s an anthemic, smooth synthpop song that reminds me of what might’ve happened if New Order had come up in the streaming era. Lyrically, Hunter takes on the persona of a nihilistic young vampire: “The greatest joy there’s ever been / We lift our heads, we lift our heads / And see the world is burning.” So when Hunter sings about being a young Republican, don’t take them too literally.
Director Raul Gonzo’s “Young Republicans” video flashes back and forth between various misfits — one of whom is Hunter himself — and the actual young Republicans who prey on them. The video has the sheen of ’80s wealth all over it, and it builds to a gruesomely literal finale. Below, watch the “Young Republicans” video and check out the tracklist for The Competition.
02 “Hand Of God”
03 “Two Faced Love”
04 “Young Republicans”
05 “Real Thing”
06 “Buster Keaton”
07 “I Drive”
08 “Simple Life”
09 “Empire Sundown”
10 “Lucky People”
11 “In Your House”
The Competition is out 9/6 on Ribbon Music.