The Lowtones are a band from Norwich, UK which formed early in the year 2020. Their first EP Lights Out features a raw and authentic 80’s new wave sound. These songs that capture and empathize with the feelings of loneliness and loss we’ve all experienced in such a tumultuous year.
Owing to the timing of the band’s formation, Lights Out was self-produced in a completely DIY way. This comes as a pleasant surprise, as the quality of this record is top notch. Each song’s aesthetic is consistent to the genre they were inspired by. Fans of The Cure, Joy Division and Depeche Mode should feel at home in this sound. They’ve even captured the soft 80’s veneer that accentuates the gentle hum of the synths and guitars, as well as utilizing the cool reverbed vocals of darkwave and the punchy rhythms of post-punk.
“Feel Nothing” opens the record with a rumbling bass line, somber melodies and slick pounding drums. This song wrestles with the feeling of helplessness and melancholy that all is too often so easy to get overwhelmed by. Even so, the song has a certain defiant bite to it, illustrating that there is still a fighting chance left in us.
“Losing You” feels like a response to the previous song, a rallying cry to fight back because : “nothing hurts the same as losing you”. The cold vocals and dreamy riffs provide the emotional backdrop while the tight banging rhythms feels like the noise of a troubled mind
“Ink” is full of atmospheric and hazy textures, hinting on the band’s prowess in crafting synthscapes and industrial sounds. I especially like the transition in mood from the first half of the song to the latter, moving from smoky to crystalline in what feels like a small but significant resurgence of hope.
“Beneath Your Skin” is a slow burning ballad with an underlying hiss of noise. With its swaying tempo and dreamy melodies, this is the best song in this EP for a slow-dance. The EP ends with “Let Go”, an urgent call to action for our characters to move on from a strained relationship. Yet there’s a conflict inside that’s preventing them from doing so. The longer melodies and tighter guitar riffs of this cut makes it the most tense and urgent song of the record.
The Lowtones perfectly captures a well-loved genre and uses it as an avenue for a catharsis that we all can share. Lights Out might be the first offering from the band, but there’s certainly a bright future ahead of them.