Swathed in an undersea murkiness, Lower Dens' debut album, Twin-Hand Movement, explores the more ethereal side of freak folk. There’s a kind of understated beauty at work here. Rather than sweeping, melodic grandeur, subtlety is the watchword. Lower Dens have an approach to melody that skews toward Krautrock, utilizing patient repetition to draw the listener slowly into their haunting den of harmony. “I Get Nervous” and “Plastic and Powder” show off the band's talent for careful layering, delicately adding guitars to create a reverby nest of sound for the vocals to rest in. The pacing of the album is also interesting. Twin-Hand Movement plays out like the soundtrack to an all-night hangout, beginning at sundown with the dusky “Blue and Silver,” moving through the night with a languid middle section, and then ending with the upbeat “Hospice Gates” and “Two Cocks Waving Wildly at Each Other Across a Vast Open Space, a Dark Icy Tundra,” concluding the album with the hopeful promise of a new dawn. All in all, Twin-Hand Movement is everything you’d expect from an album from one of the new creative centers for indie music at the moment (Baltimore), featuring singer/songwriter Jana Hunter and put out by the king of freak folk, Devendra Banhart, giving Lower Dens an almost unfair advantage in the pedigree department. What really matters, though, is that Twin-Hand Movement is an album that’s textural, moody, surprising, and, most importantly, really good.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney