Just as artists run the risk of repelling listeners with overbearing, heavy-handedness, artists also run the risk of being forgotten by listeners by playing it too delicate or too light. On the basis of their self-titled EP, Lowlakes could never be accused of heavy-handedness. In their attempt to combine ambient sounds with traditional song structures, though, they have produced a set of songs that, while compelling in the moment, are so delicate that any impressions they make dry up and blow away at song’s end. Fragile, dream-like, ephemeral, and every other adjective denoting the vague romanticism made popular by bands like Coldplay can all be applied to Lowlakes. Comparisons to Sigur Ros are particularly apt in that Lowlakes tend to build their songs on the basis of a kind of shimmering drone that is punctuated by dramatic piano chords. But unlike Sigur Ros, who push the dreamlike abstraction of their music to the extreme by singing in the unintelligible, nonsensical Hopelandic language of their own making, to heightened dreamlike effect, Lowlakes’ Tom Snowdon sings in a jarring kind of theatric falsetto that requires intense concentration to be understood, effort that goes against the spirit of this kind of music, which should lend itself to allowing the mind to wander. Though they haven’t cracked the code on this EP, it is admirable that Lowlakes has taken on the challenge of finding a balance between the ambient and the melodic. Ideally, their next effort will touch listeners in the way this EP does, but with greater resonance. After all, what good is a dream if it is forgotten upon waking?
MP3: Lowlakes “Song For Motion”