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SINGLE REVIEW: Gengahr - Never A Low

Hackney quartet demonstrates a dark new sound.

Gengahr - Never A Low (2020 Gengahr / Liberator Music)

Get ready folks; Gengahr are dangerously close to releasing their third album. Shifting to a darker sonic palette here with 'Never A Low', the London foursome have further hinted at the direction of upcoming album Sanctuary with a step away from the sparkly shoegaze of the previous two LP's and into the spicy temperaments of processed beats and digital sounds.

The bass is different. The drums are thick. This is barely recognisable as a Gengahr tune - and I love it. If it weren't for Felix Bushe's distinctly soft vocal delivery you would be surprised to hear this single as a continuation of the same band that brought you 'She's A Witch' and 'Heroine' on 2015's A Dream Outside. There's barely a guitar in earshot, let alone any evidence of John Victor's eye-wateringly gorgeous effects pedals. Replaced by airy synthesizers, the track not only experiments with a new sonic identity but entirely validates their decision to do so - providing an exciting new version of the band for us all to appreciate.

You haven't heard Gengahr write a chorus like this before. It's sleepy, catchy, calm and *menacing*. Hearing this - combined with the hints of glitch-pop infused production from Virginia Hernandez - the song is different to anything that came before from the shiny guitars and extensive pedalboards of the band. Bushe's lyrics are servicable here, not really provoking much intrigue to delve into the deeper meanings beyond an intriguing line at 0:47: "sentimental in an endless spring / deviate heavy now you're catching me" but his vocal delivery is still utterly ethereal, demanding you all to notice just how pretty his voice sounds. The track is a tight 3 1/2 minutes that feels much shorter than it really is and you may well notice when the song ends that you are stuck flipping the proverbial "45" and starting the tune right back up again from the beginning. That's probably a very good sign.

This is going to be a good one to hear live, as all of Gengahr's catalogue is, but with this being (presumably) the last single to come before Sanctuary drops on January 31st, this album sounds like it just might be a deliciously intriguing listen for both new and returning listeners to the band.


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Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based in London, England. Subscribe to our mailing list below to be alerted every time a post is published on the site.

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