Today, English trio LOWLIFE release their debut album ‘PAYDAY’ via Hellcat Records, the Los Angeles label led by Tim Armstrong (Rancid, The Transplants, Operation Ivy). They also share the music video for the track, “FUCKED UP,” which depicts their shared passions of skateboarding, cars and music brought to life by their own video production and home-spun effects. It proves that ultimately LOWLIFE is a passion project born out of the trio’s long-term friendship.
‘PAYDAY’ is an exhilarating, white-knuckle blend of early ‘00s pop-punk, West Coast hip-hop, alternative R&B and 90s rap-rock. It’s an adventurous hybrid of sounds that at times recall the boisterous bounce of Beastie Boys, the ragged melodies of Rancid or the raw power of Bikini Kill… and then still finds the space to throw in some N.E.R.D. production and a Black Sabbath sample to maximize their unpredictable style.
The majority of the album’s songs were written at the band’s headquarters in an industrial unit on the outskirts of Chelmsford, UK. The rural location allows their self-sufficient creativity to flourish, refining their DIY spirit and multitude of skills through writing, producing and mixing almost entirely independently, as well as creating their own videos, artwork and merch. ‘PAYDAY’ was subsequently completed with select contributions from trusted collaborators Beau Blaise (of London duo KIDS), James Dring (Gorillaz, Loyle Carner) and Jason Perry (Don Broco, Trash Boat).
There are no high concept themes, just snapshots in the life of a trio whose brotherhood is a core aspect of their creativity. The story behind LOWLIFE explains much of their sound. The trio - Jordan Cardy, Liam Haygarth and Harry Todd - have been friends since college and when Jordan’s RAT BOY project started to take off in the UK, he enlisted Liam and Harry in his backing band. But during the recording of the second RAT BOY album, ‘Internationally Unknown’, their connection was stronger than ever, leading co-producer Tim Armstrong to suggest starting a new project. Step forward LOWLIFE, with all three sharing vocals, instrumentation and production.
“We’d been listening to a lot of hip-hop and Beastie Boys and we wanted to keep it broad and playful,” says Jordan. Liam agrees, adding, “We’re inspired more by a work ethic than a sound.” As Harry explains, “We treated it like a recording project, we were experimenting more and more.”
As such, ‘PAYDAY’ is a headrush of a record that’s a thrill to keep up with. Single “ELON” is an electronic-pop banger that sounds like Gorillaz reanimating The Specials’ “Ghost Town”, while “AMERICAN DREAMER” recalls their jaunts around the US through a crunchy Weezer-y guitar riff and anthemic chorus. Across its 13 tracks, it’s a record of modern-pop dynamism and dexterous gear-changes, from the dreamy alt-R&B of “AFTERGLOW” to the rampaging future-punk of “SHOTGUN”, before the gliding synths and smooth bars of “SKATE STORE” bring all of the chaos to a harmonious close.