Lowland Hum are exclusively premiering their cover of The Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror” today at Paste. From The Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico, the original soft track features lead vocals from Nico. For husband-and-wife duo Lowland Hum, “I’ll Be Your Mirror” allows their “hush folk” sound to come through without totally reshaping the original song.
The quiet music-supporting and -creating band was drawn to the powerful simplicity of the lyrics in “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” and in their cover, the lead vocals of Lauren Goans come across as a near-whisper but maintain piercing clarity as she reassures her subject. “Please put down your hands, ‘cause I see you,” she sings, her tone soothing. Daniel Goans’ voice floats beneath his wife’s, a warm buzz expanding into the space left empty during the song’s beginning and end.
“By some mysterious balancing and subtle arranging, The Velvet Underground is brazenly vulnerable and confessional without undercutting the ever-present swagger in their music,” the band tells Paste. “We are consistently moved and challenged by their songs.”
Lowland Hum push the confessional aspect of the song through their production choices. It’s a minimal song to begin with and they don’t try to create undue drama in their version, instead making the space of the track more intimate through distinct pronunciation: The ends of certain words are clipped off and in some cases, the shaping of words by the mouth is audible. In its vulnerability, this cover fits well among the originals of their discography.
Lowland Hum released their third full-length album Thin in 2017 and are currently wrapping up another record, whose release is expected in early 2019.
Listen to “I’ll Be Your Mirror” exclusively at Paste below and find their 2017 performance at the Paste Studio further down.