Lowtide, “Held” (Opposite Number)
We loved “Wedding Ring”, the first taster of the forthcoming debut album from Melbourne’s Lowtide. Now, we’re hearing “Held” for the first time (the band shared the track back in 2014), and we’ve fallen in love all over again. [Our thanks to the always great The Line of Best Fit blog for the initial introduction.]
Since we never got off our duff long enough to write about “Wedding Ring” when we first heard it a few months ago, let’s rectify that first. The track is truly massive, channeling the epic end of the shoegaze/dreampop spectrum – think later period Cocteau Twins (the phased guitars are charmingly Guthrie-esque) and bands like Pale Saints and Slowdive – with an uptempo groove and a bridge at the 1:40 mark that, if it doesn’t make you smile and/or tear up, you should seek immediate medical attention.
“Held” is no less grand, even while seemingly a bit less epic. Wtf?, you may say. Our explanation lies in the layers underneath the skyscraping boy/girl vocal tradeoffs. Where “Wedding Ring” started from a lush, shogazed underpinning, “Held” feels like the kind of anthemic, later period post-punk that wasn’t afraid to pin its heart to its denim jacketed sleeve – we’re thinking here of past greats like the brilliant Chameleons, Pink Turns Blue, and Brighter Than a Thousand Suns-era Killing Joke, on through to new bands like another thegrindinghalt fave, Communions. The upper register is no less blissful, but the slow burning guitar and absolutely churning rhythms here provide a bit of cloud cover to an otherwise purely sun-dappled experience.