I don’t know whether Melbourne is becoming the shoegaze/dream pop capital of the Southern Hemisphere, but the release last month of Lowtide‘s sophomore album, ‘Southern Mind’ would be compelling evidence. Some of the best music is being produced in the southern capital and Lowtide are leading the pack.
‘Southern Mind’ is a stellar collection of guitar-driven dream pop anthems with the vocal harmonies of a choir of angels.
Delay, chorus and reverb soak the waves of guitars, and there is a mesmeric and hypnotic quality throughout the album, reinforced by the tight and melodic rhythm section. Even more importantly, each song contributes to a cohesive whole – this is not a couple of singles thrown on a pile of dross, but a collection of individually excellent songs.
I immediately think of fellow Melbournite icons and Backseat Mafia favourites Underground Lovers meeting the Cocteau Twins: lush and beautiful layered instruments deeply infused with melancholia and romance. Witness single off the album ‘Alibi’:
This is transporting music. Second single off the album, ‘Elizabeth Tower’ is no less magnificent, with the shots of a golden-infused Melbourne of the past in all its romantic glory:
The duel interplay of vocals and the jangly jangly chiming guitars is gorgeous.
Songs like ‘Window’ have a New Order quality built on a throbbing and melodic bass line and layered guitars with a little more grunt, whereas ‘Fault Lines’ showcase a more contemplative, dreamy side to the band, utilising, again, both vocals and having an Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark-type sweeping cinemascope.
This is an album that evokes movement and rest, dreams and travel, a sense of euphoria and wide open, limitless horizons. It is truly a magnificent album.
You can get the album and Lowtide’s earlier releases here.
Lowtide first began to crystallise into existence in 2009, with Gabriel Lewis exploring ambient, textured guitar tones in his solo recordings. In 2010, the outfit expanded into its current line-up to form Lowtide, with bassist/vocalist Lucy Buckeridge and drummer Anton Jakovljevic joining the fold, alongside former member Giles Fielke, who departed the band following the completion of the new record.
Lowtide are in the middle of an Australian tour to launch the album. You can still catch them, full details here:
Northcote Social Club
The Bearded Lady
Grace Emily Hotel