Low Island


Under dimmed glows, a murmured haziness fills our surroundings. Four figures creep into the light and quietly get acquainted with their instruments. No-one applauds; no-one seems to notice. Much like their introduction tonight Oxford four-piece Low Island started gently in 2016, bending people’s ears with debut single ‘Anywhere’ on which singer Jamie states “I’m not going anywhere” – we’re glad to hear it.

This is their first headline show in Manchester and you can tell they’re happy to be here and take up the mantle. Bassist Jacob, dressed all in black, frequently loses himself in the rib-cage-rattling bass lines while drummer Felix has a certain nonchalant demeanor but is the linchpin of the band with driving percussion and jazz-influenced beats. His drumming is a welcome addition to the textures of the band’s music and set them apart from any Radiohead or Caribou pigeon-holers. Latest single ‘That Kind of Love’ is an absolute treat; a spellbinding cut that starts minimally but builds and builds with delicate vocals until singers Jamie and Carlos interweave harmonies, repeating the words, “you may never find that kind of love again” whilst slight synths swirl around to a pulsating climax.

The band achieves the mood and feeling that is present on their records; on ‘Holding It Down’ the two singers’ vocals immediately ground us in the moment, as if the song’s opening line takes literal meaning: “In this room / I can feel / gravity holding me down”. Such is the weight of the song it’s hard not to get carried away with the going-off-not-going-off vibes; the steadily drawn-out synths that raise their head towards the song’s end sit perfectly over Felix’s trip-hop-style tread-milling beats.

New song ‘I Know You’ (written earlier in the day) is a welcome break in tempo. It drops us down a couple of gears to a gentle and meandering plod, like a casual Autumn-morning stroll. Closer ‘Recent’ reminds a little of Woodkid. It’s the perfect song to finish with as the band go slightly off-piste from the record and keep the party going, they don’t want things to finish just yet, neither do we.

Tonight has proved to be no less than exhilarating; a magnificent riot of pulsating bass, spine-tingling keys and rousing tunes – a band in valorous, victorious control with nothing but a bright future ahead.

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forever a student of music. Been in bands. Regularly attends gigs in Manchester's more intimate venues. Lazy blogger.