When you look at a map of Britain, the thing that stands out about North Devon, is how far away it is, from just about everywhere. It’s on the edge of Exmoor I grant you, and impossibly beautiful, but there’s not really anything that stands out, or jumps out and grabs you when you look at it. It looks (and really, it is beautiful so check it out if you…..err, have nothing better to do) like the sort of place my elderly parents would visit. Plenty of Cafe’s and ‘visitor centres’ (why is it the older you get, the more obsessed you are with visitor centres) to buy hand-knitted jumpers, and overpriced hand-made wooden toys. Note to Grandparents everywhere – we get it that you had wooden toys, but we don’t have wooden toys anymore, because it’s not 50 years ago, and anyway Star Wars and Computers and video games and stuff have been invented since – you know, good stuff. Get over it.
Also looking back into the past is North Devon’s own Low Tide Theory. Not too far though, but maybe as far as OMD, Pet Shop Boys, The Stranglers, Tears for Fears and the like. I know that to be true, because a) I’ve listened to it and b) I copied it off their website as their stated influences. Either way though, Low Tide Theory are making retro influenced synth pop that’s sounding very much up to date.
Debut single To Begin Again whetted everyone’s appetite upon its release in January. Starting off like a Gary Numan track, the track morphs into classic synth-pop with a touch of the said New Order’s about it. Its uplifting, has that sort of haunting sheen that all the best synth music seems (to me) to have, regardless of its mood.
The band; Johnnie Campbell on keys and vocals, Paul Robinson on keys and guitars and Chris Gooderham on bass guitar, release new single Time will tell on 1st April as a download only. The album ‘Big Sky’ follows a week later, both on the In At The Eye imprint. Again, soaring synths and Campbell’s half Sumner/half Curtis sounding baritone give the song this counterbalance of the positive sounding vibe against his naturally rather more downbeat sounding vocal. It’s almost like the music the Bernards super-group Electronic should have made after that first great album.
I get this feeling that my wait for that something from North Devon that stands out, you know, that jumps out and grabs you, may be over.