Low Sea: Portals review – Nocturnal arrangements whose influences are too obvious
During the 1980s, a decade defined by extravagance and technological advances, Hollywood was obsessed with imagined sights and sounds of the future. Blade Runner, released in 1982, correctly predicted digital billboards while Back To The Future Part II was overly optimistic in presenting flying cars as a solution to rush-hour traffic. Thirty years on, it seems that, culturally, modernity has been stilted by the past.
A striking number of contemporary releases have been heavily informed by revered shoegaze and post-punk bands, namely Joy Division and Suicide. On Portals, Low Sea’s third LP, the duo return with their self-described “coldwave synthpop”. Unfortunately, their new material, the first in five years, desperately lacks originality.
The nocturnal arrangements are extremely familiar as Low Sea wear their influences on their sleeve. Sleeping’s lumbered percussive pattern, punctuated by distant bass chords, is reminiscent of the aforementioned Joy Division, minus the persistent synths. Elsewhere, Billie’s breathy vocal lines are remarkably similar to Chromatics’ Ruth Radelet.
Despite the noisy melodies, Low Sea say very little on this album. Instead, these tracks are suitable for soundtracks of prospective remakes of your favourite futuristic cult movies.