On 2018’s Double Negative, Low sounded broken, distorted, distant. Their music—always centered on the vocals of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, always beautiful, always in the process of reinvention—seemed to glitch and warp just as you started sinking in, a signal growing weaker the closer you approached. The group’s latest single, “Days Like These,” again produced by BJ Burton, continues this trend. When the full arrangement enters about 80 seconds into the song, the sound that emerges is a static, alien pulse, the instruments so blurred that it’s hard to tell what they started life as.

Through it all, Sparhawk and Parker’s voices are front-and-center, maybe even Auto-Tuned, and so clear in the mix that it’s a little jarring. “Always looking for that one sure thing,” they sing together, “Oh, you want it so desperately.” The melody is among their most immediate: bittersweet and simple, like when they hushed their voices and instruments to cover John Denver. Only now, they sing loud and forcefully—the way it sounds when you try to convince someone you’re fine, but your nerves tell a different story. Eventually, the pop impulses of their songwriting submit to the decay of the atmosphere, and the second half is devoted to pure ambience. The melody dissolves into synth fuzz and soloing, the lyrics evaporate to a single word (“again”), and the white noise softens into a heavenly glow, ascending and sweeping us along for another transformation.

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