‘Can you get to some more Melbourne bands, please?’ – Anonymous
‘Yes’ – Me
‘Will you ever write about shoegaze?’ – Anonymous
‘Yes’ – Me
….and so here is Lowtide’s long-awaited self-titled debut, out today:
Lowtide is, in one word, ethereal. There’s definitely a bit of an abient/post-rock thing mixed in here: the songs aren’t just songs; they’re soundscapes. They aim for (sometimes epic) highs and a few of the songs get a bit emotional. Not sad angsty-emotional, but rather the mature, hug-your-steady girlfriend kind of emotional. It is a shoegaze/dream pop record after all.
Opener ‘Whale’ is a journey of lush synths and airy vocal harmonies that takes the listener on a journey, from dreamy beginnings to a gradual, winding finish that you could approximate to falling asleep in the arms of your loved ones (or alone, miserably wishing for the same).
Unlike the plenty of other bands in the genre, Lowtide don’t bury their vocals in the mix or drown them out with fuzz, even on a proggier track like ‘Whale’. This is something that comes out further on the tracks ‘Held’ and ‘Wedding Ring’, which with their shared male/female vocals are pop songs by comparison.
It’s good to see them covering a variety of shoegaze bases. There’s variety; the songs don’t just all blur into one which is all too common when we’re talking dream pop or shoegaze. In addition to the proggy ‘Whale’ and the poppier tunes, ‘Blue Movie’ kinda sounds like Ride with a chick singing, with added synths in the background that bring it into the present, and the dark ‘Yesterday’ starts a bit doomy, but builds up to another triumphant end.
‘Maxilæ Leaving, Seaward’ is an instrumental that’s most suggestive of that ambient influence that I’ve mentioned. It’d be at home soundtracking some art film with no dialogue or something. And guess what? The last track, ‘Still Time’, is another instrumental. I didn’t think they’d dare to do two in a row (at the end of the album nonetheless) but they have. It’s quite a gamble in a lot of ways, pressing ‘skip’ is pretty easy to do after all, but Lowtide pull it off quite well. Just don’t expect another pop song at the end.
At 9 tracks, Lowtide is a slim album, but isn’t that what an album should be? Ending, with us wishing there was another song or two?
If you like: Ride, Lush
Best tracks: ‘Whale’, ‘Wedding Ring’, ‘Still Time’