Until their press release popped up in my (rather crowded) inbox, I had no inkling who Lowlakes were. Of course, that's the whole point of the 'Introducing...' series, but still, there's usually some buzz, some ring of the bell at a group's name - a fact made all the more surprising when you listen to these lads. This is good stuff, and it deserves to be heard.
Originally hailing from Alice Springs, childhood friends Thomas Snowdon (vocals/guitar), Bill Guerin (bass) and Jack Talbot (drums) shook off the red dust and relocated to Melbourne where the inclusion of Brent Monaghan's atmospheric influence transformed a group formerly called The Moxie into Lowlakes.
The aural result is a tasteful union between ambitious mood-setting and the more earthly approach of an indie guitar band. Inspired by the celestial atmospherics of Sigur Ros but with a more grounded approach to their arrangements, there's an ambience in their dreamy sounds as well as a darker rhythmic undertow.
It only helps that in Snowdon, they have an impressive vocalist, his smoky vocals gliding effortlessly between a baritone as cushioned as crumpled velvet and a soaring falsetto. He's already been likened to the emotional vibrato of Antony "& The Johnsons" Hegarty and Jeff Buckley's choir-boy croon, and I would further add the husky baritone of Wild Beasts' Tom Fleming to the list. In short, it's a voice rich in emotive splendour.
They've only got a single self-titled EP to their name, but its collective four tracks is an impressive showcase of their abilities. Each cut acting like a complimentary corner to their sound. Lead single and opening track Song For Motion is the logical introduction to their atmospheric indie sounds over a steadily building structure, Catch The Breeze follows and introduces some grooving back-beat and spacious guitar splashes. Buffalo adds some upbeat urgency, its catchy hooks reminds of The Temper Trap's more lucid moments, but with extra trumpet! The closing Arctic House ties everything that's come before into a sweeping mini-epic that clocks in at over six minutes, where every moment counts. Beautiful stuff.
As it turns out, tomorrow night sees the launch of their eponymous EP at Northcote's Uniting Church (tix are available through MoshTix), a suitably atmospheric setting for their haunting sounds. It'll be interesting to see if their live sound is as captivating as their recorded work. Watch this space.
Lowlakes - Song For Motion (Lowlakes EP 2012) by sgcmedia