The Jericho Tavern
3rd September 2021
After the exciting promise of their 2019 EP Shut Out the Sun, Low Island finally released their debut album, If You Could Have It All Again, in April. It was very much a DIY endeavour, as the band had no management, no label and no outside producer, recording it in a makeshift studio in France. This Jericho gig is their first headline show in two years, and a true homecoming, as a lot of the album was written down the road.
They’ve obviously spent a while perfecting their performance of songs they’ve never played live before, as their show is as curated as the album. They start with its opener, the slow-building tribute to hope “Hey Man”, end with the last track (“What The Hell (Are You Gonna Do Now?)”, a sombre chronicle of hindsight and regret) and only briefly visit their other, earlier material. However deliberate this is, it gives a picture of the band as an artist in the fullest sense of the word “art”: it’s apparent that Low Island are very good at creating and crafting moods.
Tonight’s repertoire quite effectively captures, for lack of a more appropriate cliché, the zeitgeist. Every song evokes a feeling, be it by way of the relentless drudgery of repetitive synth toplines and basslines, or fin-de-decade ennui of lyrics – coming to terms with the end of the 2010s, accepting the milestones that are inevitable with the onslaught of ageing, and even the relentless uncertainly we’ve all been through with Covid. The album is somewhat of a concept album – the narrator is a loose character looking back at the last decade – and through the sometimes rambling and disorientating layering of synths and guitars, each song is a chapter, and each chapter comes to a crescendo of nostalgia, confusion and – overall – ultimately redemption.