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Back in 2011, having graced the 7" shelves with their astonishing Underneath Tonight single, all eyes were on Melbourne quartet Lowtide, patiently awaiting their next move. Now, after what seems an eternity in this age of attention deficiency, our heroes finally have their affairs in order for their triumphant return.
In short, Lowtide was not an album that would surrender itself easily; the eponymous debut has seen more reworkings than A Christmas Carol, while the band searched doggedly for the perfect spine-tingling melody and the furthest-out-est guitar sounds. The result is an album that expands Lowtide's sonic perimeters far beyond expectation.
Originally known as Three Month Sunset and centered around the solo workings of Gabriel Lewis, the band came together in 2008. Renamed Lowtide in 2010, the sound evolved from a single ambient, soaring, textured guitar into the band's current, larger configuration framed by dual bassists/vocalists Lucy Buckeridge and Giles Simon and drummer Anton Jakovljevic.
The album's first single 'Blue Movie' continues the band's dreampop love affair, but this record ain't no one-tricker — 'Held' raises the heart-rate as it careers toward the chorus (and perhaps the album's melodic peak), while 'Wedding Ring' wouldn't be out of place on a John Hughes soundtrack.
Recorded at Soundpark Studios by Melbourne-based UK producer Gareth Parton (Spiritualized, Big Scary, The Go! Team), Lowtide is as layered and complex as it is a straight-to-the-heart modern shoegaze masterpiece.
1) Whale 2) Held 3) Autumn 4) Blue Movie 5) Wedding Ring; 6) Yesterday 7) Missing History 8) Maxillæ Leaving, Seaward 9) Still Time
"Despite its shoegaze overtones, Lowtide’s debut LP is actually a pop record steeped in blissful textures. “Wedding Ring” and “Held” are jangly singles at heart, and “Maxillæ Leaving, Seaward” could pass for something on Sarah Records. That said, “Blue Movie” and “Still Time” are subtle enough to reveal their full potential with patience. Key to the Melbourne quartet’s slippery uniqueness are the conversational exchanges between Lucy Buckeridge and Giles Simon, entwining their dual bass lines and vocals alike. Instead of banking purely on swirling guitar effects, Lowtide exploit rhythm and space. The album houses a perfect mix of the driving and drifting, with songs changing shape right before our ears." **** Rolling Stone
"Melbourne shoegazers Lowtide have at last released a full-length LP, and the initial spin doesn’t disappoint.
Opening with the haunting slow burn of Whale, the quartet unfurl an expanse of sound with droning male/female vocal harmonies perched atop guitars that could fill a black hole.
It’s easy to get lost in the dreamy essence of this album, and when the band isn’t gently pulling the listener into darker terrain, a la Faith-era Cure-sounding tunes Yesterday or Blue Movie, they’re switching it up with perkier, more upbeat melodies that burrow into the brain and stay there, such as Held.
Gabriel Lewis has crafted guitar tones that shift from shimmering bell-like chimes to enveloping sonic panoramas. The twin basses of Lucy Buckeridge and Giles Simon don’t feature as prominently in the mix as one would expect – not that this is a flaw – but rather combine to merge with the overall aural tapestry.
Maxillae Leaving, Seaward is an engaging instrumental that gradually builds from humble beginnings, with bass and drums layered to slowly propel the listener skyward.
Missing History is a track that showcases the band’s knack for penning songs that brim with warm, fuzzy sentiment, while Wedding Ring echoes this positive vibe with an indie aesthetic that smacks of ‘90s nostalgia.
Lowtide have succeeded in making an album that combines all the elements that make shoegaze such a satisfying listen when done right: lingering melodies, dreamy textures and more layers than an onion." **** The Music
"Wave on wave on wave on wave of introspective lyrics, dreamy guitar tones, jaunty double basses and drums make Lowtide’s debut album a great listen. They have shown that whilst they may be within the confines of ‘shoegaze’, there is a lot they have to offer in their music.
The album begins soft and lingering but with a gravitas that’s pretty well portrayed in the title of the first track, Whale. Luckily ‘Lowtide' isn’t too low and doesn’t beach its first, Whale but amps things up with Held and (after a short Autumn interlude) Blue Movie. Held has a bouncy harmony that breathes a cheery, upbeat vibe into the album, and Blue Movie just fucking rocks. The Cure-esque guitar branching expansive lows and highs is really invigorating. Yesterday is for the emotion built up from everything you’ve been through for the last 20 minutes (of the album), and Missing History gets back to the dream pop Cure routes that I and hopefully you will hold so dear to this album. Like waves on stone the drums in Missing History smash one heartbeat to the next. Although they’ve been identified as ’shoegaze’, lead guitar Gabriel Lewis, dual bassists/vocalists Lucy Buckeridge and Giles Simon, and drummer Anton Jakovljevic, under the Lost and Lonesome label have made something really quite enjoyable. I want whatever shoes these guys are wearing because they must be pretty fucking inspiring.
Also just a little end note. I cannot stress enough how glad I am that ‘Lowtide' is called ‘Lowtide' as opposed to their pre-2010 title ‘Three Month Sunset’. Whilst this may not be as important a point, their sound in my mind is so synonymous with actual tidal shift that I want to go lie on a beach and listen to the album over and over again.
" ***** City and Sound
"If you’re not utterly spellbound by the slow ebbing textures and dual gender vocals of patiently constructed opener ‘Whale’ – do hang about, by second track ‘Held’, the same elements and shimmering layers have been bolstered to a forward-driving rhythm of glazed dream pop as twin bassists/vocalists Giles Simon and Lucy Buckeridge trade rhetoric between spacey guitar lines.
It’s between these two modes of operation - the wafting, dreamer kind and the hookier, more propellent indie pop – that Lowtide continue to oscillate on their long-delayed full-length debut, demonstrating that the better part of the four years spent making their eponymous LP has been used to carefully hone in on qualities that make them unique among their Aussie shoegaze (or ‘roogaze’) contemporaries while still satisfying purists.
The lush melodic harmonies of Simon and Buckeridge guide the listener on a journey through sonic territory that’s invitingly lush (‘Blue Movie’), immediate yet soft-edged (‘Wedding Ring’) and purely transcendent (‘Yesterday’).
Whether you’re letting its verdant layers lap away at you in the background or focussing deeply on its undulating waves of atmospheric rock through a pair of headphones, Lowtide offers plenty to lose yourself in; a sonic getaway you’ll find yourself aching to retreat to again and again." Tone Deaf