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Lower's 2012 debut EP, Walk on Heads, could so easily have been overlooked. Four tracks of dissonant, blink-and-you'll-miss-it hardcore that's over in a heartbeat (well, in less than nine minutes), the first release from the Danish quartet took no prisoners, but it did ask a lot of questions. Thankfully, those questions didn't fall on deaf ears, both in the thriving Copenhagen scene that they call home and internationally too.

It's no secret that the punk landscape in the Danish capital - or at the very least around local performance space, Mayhem - has become an incredibly nurturing environment for regional acts: Iceage, VÅR, Sexdrome, and Sweden's Lust for Youth can all trace important roots there. But, there was always something different about Lower. Each spin of Walk on Heads only lasts a handful of minutes on your stereo, but in that time hairs are raised, ears are pricked and attentions are enraptured.

For all its ferocious energy sonically, it's not necessarily the music's brutalist onslaught that catches imaginations however. Rather, it's the band's frontman, Adrian Toubro - caught at the centre of an electrical storm he can't quite control - who serves as the main focal point. Choosing not to be driven by the inbuilt hostility of Walk on Heads, Toubro instead offered mantras on the world that verged on the poetic - though you might struggle to hear them behind the furore of the music and his thick Danish accent.

What's interesting then is that with their Matador debut, Seek Warmer Climes, the band have capitalised on this strength. Siphoning off some of the full-frontal assault present on Walk on Heads in favour of allowing Toubro the space to breathe as a vocalist and to fully express his philosophical bent to its logical conclusions.

That's not to say that sonically it's lost the course though - far from it. If the high points of that first EP ('Pictures of Passion', 'Lethargy') felt like listening in on a Bizarro World Minor Threat strung through with the DNA of New York no wave (if you'll excuse the turn of phrase), Seek Warmer Climes serves as its inversion: hardcore ripped apart, its extremities expanded to breaking point with every discordance drawn out for maximum effect.

'Expanding Horizon (Dar Es Salaam)' - presumably named for the Tanzanian city in which Toubro was almost kidnapped - builds from the sort of ribcage-rattling bass line and razor wire guitars that characterised Sonic Youth's early '80s output. Placing the churning, barely discernible 'Craver' - the one cut resurrected from Walk on Heads for inclusion - next to the greatly refined 'Traditions', meanwhile, offers an insight into the leaps made by the band compositionally. The latter is considered, perfectly executed and wonderfully shaded - all without losing an ounce of the energy and vitriol at the music's core.

It's not unlike watching the transition Wire made between Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154, but, while the iconic British quartet aided the sea change by ushering bassist Graham Lewis into the vocal fold, Lower have more than enough faith to leave Toubro at the helm.

They were right to do so. Across Seek Warmer Climes, Toubro grapples with the tribulations of what he describes as "personal development, whether emotional or cosmetic," and it's rarely less than thrilling - largely thanks to that poetic ability of his to succinctly turn a phrase with flair and thought. Whether he's decrying avoidist tactics on 'Soft Option' with a chilly post-punk detachment ("Step aside, take precautions/gracefully fend off conflict with a technique turned into routine.") or preaching self-confidence on closer 'Arrows' ("Put straight the things that make you shy away/return to these shores honest and headstrong, 'cause fancy disguises deceive no one."), the results are nothing if not immersive and fascinating.

Perhaps he summarises the capsule experience of the record best on the tumultuous 'Unkempt and Uncaring', though. "Slight adjustments of your aim, that's all it takes," he shouts in one of the track's calmer troughs, "the phrase is always what you lash yourself with." With Seek Warmer Climes' slight redirection, Toubro and Lower offer mantras to live by, beguilingly presented and difficult to ignore, but with a serious sting in the tail.

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