Photo provided by Sonic PR
On 16th April, indie-pop quartet Low Island released their debut album If You Could Have It All Again, five years after first forming in Oxford in 2016. As an independent band, the members impressively created and produced the album themselves. If You Could Have It All Again is a collection of eleven tracks, comprising various elements from classic rock, all the way to electronic and pop. The album’s cover features a man on a raft floating on tranquil water, perfectly capturing the joint motifs of uncertainty and peace that flow through the album.
The first track ‘Hey man,’ begins with a repetition of high-pitched synths, reflecting a yearning for continuity. ‘Hold on / Hold on, my friend,’ sings Carlos Posada, accompanied by Felix Higginbottom’s intro on drums, leading to the louder, grander second track ‘What Do You Stand For.’ With a crispy, percussion-filled chorus, Posada asks a demanding, yet straightforward question ‘Who are you? / And what do you stand for?’ Contending the obsession with external validation, this second track is sung in defiance of clichés and vanity. Even more powerfully, the heightened distortion and dissonant synths grip the listener with their raw production.
The third track on the album ‘Don’t Let the Light In’ is a dynamic single, which was released back in 2020. Winning acclaim from the fans since it was first released, this song drives the atmospheric visual of the album cover further. Jamie Jay’s electronic arpeggios are both sweepingly ethereal and transient, as the line ‘Time goes on and everything changes’ is sung. Perhaps most memorably, Jacob Lively’s funky bassline delivers the song’s full grooves. The experience of ‘Don’t Let The Light In’ is one of lights and shadows, imitating an inevitable irreconcilability of a romantic relationship in the speaker’s mind.
The seventh track ‘Feel Young Again’ is another highlight of the album. Posada’s falsetto immediately lightens up the collection with a more optimistic spin. While the album cover’s image of a man on a raft alludes to the feeling of fear and isolation, this song breaks free from the previous tracks’ constant interrogations. When one listens to ‘Feel Young Again,’ one is immersed in the ambiance of freedom and youth. Upon encountering the rhetorical question ‘When will I / Feel young again?’ Low Island offers the solution of setting oneself free. While this solution wants for a clear instruction, Lively’s resonant bass tone drives the song forward, successfully providing a sense of confidence.
If You Could Have It All Again is an auditory presentation of perpetual, retrospective self-questioning. It is about getting close to someone, and then being pulled away by one’s own emotions. About drifting in the open water with doubts and naivety. If You Could Have It All Again’s deficiency, however, lies in the lyrics of the songs, which are often too simplistic and can lack resonance. Likewise, some of the album’s tracks are plainer and weaker compared to the others, leaving the listener unsatisfied. Undeniably, though, Low Island’s electronic touch has a certain warmth, which leaves plenty of room for this indie band to grow and achieve deeper emotional significance.
Edited by Josh Aberman, Music Editor
Photo provided by Sonic PR