As many a music snob will undoubtedly tell you, the current mainstream music charts are in trouble. What was, decades ago, a pool of variety of brilliantly written music has now become a stomping ground for soulless pop songs and painfully amateur rap. It’s good, then, we have indie artists such as Lowell who are constantly challenging the face of music and bringing their individual identities to an industry where music appears to be sounding the same. One thing you can say about Lowell is that she is different, she has got her own thing going on. And it’s that thing, that special something that makes We Loved Her Dearly a satisfying and entertaining listen.
One thing that is apparent upon listening to the album is Lowell’s brilliant vocal range. Her songs, which cover pretty intense topics such as sexual abuse and women’s rights, are passionately delivered. Whether it be a more brooding tone to her voice or a relentless, piercing scream, Lowell touches all bases on the vocal spectrum. Sometimes it happens all during the course of one song; opening track, Words Were The Wars has the singer use a brooding, low register for a good deal of its run-time before she lets off an astounding falsetto at the latter end of the track. The same can also be said of Cloud 69, a track with a catchy hook where Lowell loudly sings; “Bad boys/You bad, bad boys/Coming on down Cloud 69”, her voice a well-pitched scream much unlike anything displayed on the former track. This variety in her range, as well as the variety in her melodies and songwriting, help keep things interesting and unpredictable. Too many songwriters have songs on an album that are hard to differentiate from one another, but with Lowell’s debut effort, this isn’t the case.
This brings us onto the singer’s songwriting ability. Considering efforts in recent years, Lowell’s songwriting is something truly unique. The Bells is a slow-tempo ballad, with beautiful twinkly chiming sounds in its instrumental that sound not so different from a baby’s sleeping CD. Although initially slow and gentle in its design, the tempo quickens slightly towards the end, bringing with it, as I said earlier, a welcome unpredictability. A similar songwriting effect is utilised in Summertime which brings out banging drums and an increasingly passionate vocal in its coda and, at the same time, possessing an atmosphere that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Coldplay album.
If you’re looking for something a little different to listen to, then, without a doubt, Lowell’s unique brand of indie pop will be your friend. With some intense subject matter that is rarely covered in any pop songs and a strong variety in synthesised sounds and backing tracks, Lowell’s debut LP brings with it the promise of a prevalent and interesting talent in the years to come. Add to that, an overall quality and variety in the songwriting and you’ve got yourself a winner that stands out pretty well in the indie scene.