Lowpines: In Silver Halides Album Review

By Samuel Cravey
Music Journalist

Artist: Lowpines
Album: In Silver Halides
Release Date: February 23, 2018
Website: https://lowpines.bandcamp.com/

Lowpines’ debut album In Silver Halides is the “lofi-Anglo-Americana-pop” project of London native and Bear Driver vocalist/guitarist, Oli Deakin. Lowpines is more downbeat and sombre than your typical indie folk album which may have something to do with persistent dreary weather over there in Britain, but don’t let that stop you from giving this album a thorough listen. In Silver Halides is a powerful auditory trance, patiently awaiting a new set of ears to lure into an ethereal, mist-veiled soundscape.

“We Come Right” is the first track on the album, and rightfully so as it sets the mood for the rest of the album. Soft and airy vocals with clean descending guitar notes played simultaneously with wispy ascending high pitched piano notes combine to create an enveloping, contemplative atmosphere not even 30 seconds into the song. This continues harmoniously throughout the track, subtly adding onto itself with a light snare and cymbal beat. The lyrics match the crestfallen rhythms intimately. “Lucky one, soon to be no more, how many ways have I lured you on? Waited all night for the day to come…” “Under branches of pitch and pine, sap your strength.” These mysterious and open-ended lyrics serve well to entwine any listening and lure them deeper into the album. “We Come Right” has a deeply contemplative mood that is difficult to resist. My advice is to not resist and delve deeper.

“Come On Chaos” is a dark and harsh memory that Deakin has crafted into song form. The soft vocals from before seem full of sorrow and regret, slowly becoming more pronounced as the song continues. It’s hard to tell if the vocals are trying to suppress or usher in the chaos brought on by this song, “Silence, full of silence, coming up out of the well; silence, won’t be silent, come on chaos give me hell… you’re at my side, when we all decide.” Guitar notes rain gently over the vocals along with an easy cymbal and snare beat, aiding to the emotions evoked by the lyrics. The listener is thrown into the memories of another person just by listening to the music. This effect is difficult to pull off, and Lowpines does it near effortlessly. “Come On Chaos” may be one of the more depressed songs on the album, but is also one of the best-made.

“Perfect Silence” is the last track on the album, building itself on a confident drum beat with an amusing organ/synth melody, a bright series of guitar chords and a fast bass rhythm strumming along. “Perfect Silence” is the only song of its kind on the album. The vocals seem less depressed, but still carry a certain sadness to them, akin to the kind of stoicism individuals express after coming to grips with hard-learned lessons. This is evidenced by the lyrics, “Go where the wind blows, throw off that old ghost”; and the last lines, “I must be leaving, couldn’t explain a thing.” It’s a perfect ending to a heavily contemplative album, the realization that what’s happened is in the past and must be left there to move on. “Perfect Silence” cuts away the webbing keeping the listener entwined to memories long since past and grants a new found wisdom gained from the meditative state In Silver Halides lured you into.

The songwriting isn’t the only well done part of the album, the album name itself coincides with the theme perfectly. Silver halides are chemical compounds found in photographic film that absorb light and cause the image to develop. By naming the album “In Silver Halides” Deakin is referencing being caught in a photograph, which is a saying for being stuck in memories once experienced. In this sense the way the songs tie together with the album name is perfectly poetic. Lowpines nails the folksy Americana quality it aims for.

 

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