LOWTIDE Southern Mind gets 9/10

Southern Mind
Rice Is Nice


Shoegaze feels as though it exists as more of a genre of soundscapes, rather than something analytical. Lyrics are obscured more often than not, leaving us to be enveloped by noise rather than words. Lowtide’s Southern Mind, is a true encapsulation of the genre, though not banally so. The nine tracks are a conglomeration of atmospheric sounds which truly deserve to meet their destiny in a packed amphitheatre.

Title track Southern Mind opens the record; its droney backdrop and hazy guitars contrasted with Lucy Buckeridge’s pretty vocals are an immediate hook. This backdrop repeats itself throughout the remainder; it leads one to, perhaps childishly, wonder if it has been taken from such sounds as crashing waves or road travel and manipulated to its final form. It is such mystique that makes shoegaze like this so powerful.

Lead single Alibi has a much faster riff than you’d expect, but it works so well amongst the slow and low motif. Unlike most of the album, which seems specifically crafted for midnight listening, it feels as though it could be a perfect late afternoon driving track.

The introductory riff on A.C. is so Cure-esque one could be fooled for a moment, until the male vocals (similar to Slowdive’s Neil Halstead) enter and bring us back to reality. The quiet interlude in the middle allows us to finally focus on vocals, which proclaim “Take the car to the Stanleys’ house, smash the window, head for home, got no place to go,” amongst other destructive and despairing orders.

One of Southern Mind’s many standouts is On The Fence. The more melodic guitars in the intro are much appreciated, and the intense drums which kick in about a minute in only add to the song’s evocative nature.

The only track which appears a little out of place is Olinda; a two-minute instrumental piece that feels over before it’s begun. It may take the listener by surprise if they are absorbed in the record.

Southern Mind is very homogenous; a quality which may dissuade those looking for a dynamic listen. However, it works in the favour of those who appreciate the expansive nature of shoegaze. It is so youthful in its sound; in the sense that it evokes a hopeful image of the breadth of the world, and all the wonders and possibilities it beholds. And really, is there anything better?