Probably one of the more exciting new bands to hit the scene in the last couple of years, Lowline are steadily providing a brilliant alternative to much of the sterilised safe pop that’s currently flooding the charts. Still they are yet to get the chart success that they really deserve…
Who Are They?
Hailing from deepest, darkest Manchester (well, Stockport – that’s dark enough) they comprise singer/guitarist Robbie Rush, bassist Mike Hosker, guitarist Andy Hewitt and drummer Sam Clarke. Following in the tradition of other great Mancunian bands they want to make music that reflects the environment they live in, and they’re succeeding really well at doing it. Their self titled debut album released last year on the Deaf Radio label shows a host of amazing influences but still sounds fresh and incredibly unique. Rehearsed and recorded over a period of eighteen months, you can see how much that has influenced the end result – still an alive and raw sound, but really accomplished. Considering they’re still only in their early twenties, they’re sound is much older (and that’s not a criticism either, that’s a really good thing in many ways – the only way they can take it is forward and keep maturing)
In the best tradition of all the great Northern bands – The Smiths, Joy Division, New Order – but taking inspiration from other genres such as Krautrock – Can, Neu and Kraftwerk they kind of occupy some sort of middle ground which gives them an incredibly rare sound, driving guitar rhythms and hard edged bass-lines which incorporate singer Robbie’s vocal so well. He is sometimes reminiscent of a younger Ian McCullough, a slightly less melancholic version of him, yet he still holds an incredible power that carries the lyrics really well. Their debut single “Monitors” shows a really mature strength and the video kind of matches up to that image:
It was shot at a disused warehouse in Ancoats in the band’s hometown, something which lends an extra edge of rawness to both their sound and appearance.
Also taken from the album, this song:
Which has such a crisp, catchy guitar hook the kind of thing that gets stuck in your head for days on end (in a good way, not a Crazy Frog way…). It just feels so reminiscent of everything that’s great about the Manchester music scene past and present. All Your Scars is another brilliant example of their sound, it’s almost slightly (eeeek) U2ish, but without tipping over into self indulgent, self congratulatory nonsense.
On first listen, you feel like you know all these tracks – that they’re somehow yours. The basslines are catchy, the vocals are accomplished and full of amazing power, but the more you listen the more you find something new in it that keeps grabbing on to you. Maybe it’s the fact that it feels like “coming home” in a strange sort of way,
What Else Have They Done?
Well, they do what other bands don’t. They don’t always take the safe option and play proper organised gigs in proper organised venues. They’ve started a trend for more or less DIY gigs in local places, disused warehouses and stuff, which rather than carrying lots of heavy publicity and expensive advertising has had the effect of their success spreading by word of mouth. It’s also set them up with a really loyal fan-base from the offing, something that you really don’t see that much of these days.
December last year though saw them supporting newly reformed Macclesfield band Marion on their comeback gig at the Academy in Manchester, the gig was critically acclaimed and really well received and won them a lot of praise for their tenacious play and ability to get the crowd going – also it’s seen them in talks to sign with Marion’s new record label Townsend Records, which could be a major step in them achieving the success and riches they deserve and maybe treat their parents to a holiday on one of the Fred Olsen Ships.
Really the only way for this excellent group to go is up, if they keep the standard of their debut going and follow on then success is surely theirs, a much wider audience need to hear how good they are and how they can keep the momentum going.