Low Sea’s latest album Remove Viewing is something of an experience, to say the least. The group comprises of vocalist Billie, from Bosnia, and Bobby D, from Liverpool. The band members, it seems, are as mysterious as the music they create, coming from completely different walks of life and finding each other in the USA, as if drawn together by fate.
The duo now reside in a remote cottage in Ireland, where they claim to have recorded and self-produced much of Remote Viewing, an album which they describe as “Grey Disco”. And the fruits of their labour is somewhat mystical and eerie. Although the exact nature of the relationship between Billie and Bobbie is unclear, this curiousity takes a back seat to their music, which screams of ’80s nostalgia.
Having previously been compared to Spacemen 3 and Mazzy Star, as well as clearly being influenced by the likes of New Order, Low Sea have caught the attention of American pop producer Stephen Hague, who has worked with New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Peter Gabriel and Erasure. The duo’s work is undeniably beautiful, described as European “synth pop… shot through with a bolt of blue”. Billie’s voice has a gritty yet ethereal quality which, whilst enhancing their style of “Grey Disco”, occasionally puts Remote Viewing at risk of becoming a blur of synthesisers and melancholic lyrics. Yet the striking feature of the album is that it is a work of intense feeling; it is clearly the product of many late nights and a determination to achieve that perfect sound. Added to this, the lyrics are drenched in an optimistic sadness.
Much of Low Sea’s work sports a wistful, hopeful, nostalgic quality; Billie’s voice at times echoes her troubled past in her war-torn home of Bosnia as she sings of loss and of hope for the future. Acid Ocean in particular warns of misplaced devotion and expresses a forlorn feeling of abandonment, akin to drowning in an ocean. The opening track, Afflictions Of Love, is clearly influenced by the likes of New Order and sets the tone for what is to come. Sentimental Games has been compared to ’80s new wave Scottish band Altered Images, and Billie’s voice and style is somewhat reminiscent of that band’s Clare Grogan.
Yet Low Sea are about more than just European synth pop. Starlight, for example, has a gentler, cleaner sound than many of the other tracks, whilst retaining the soulful yearning and nostalgia which resounds throughout the album. Remote Viewing, the lead single and title track, is peppered with dark tones and a foreboding beat; and then out of nowhere erupts into a euphoric, distorted chorus. Artificial Light, the final track, kicks off with a dance beat which would feel at home pounding through the floor of a dimly lit club, and yet surprises by leading into a confused muddle of soaring synth and tinkling electronic sounds. In all, Low Sea are a breath of fresh air.