Lowpines – In Silver Halides
Oil Deakin has released his full length Lowpines project with the evocatively titled In Silver Halides, a nine song collection that brings together some suggestive alt rock explorations alongside a tangible art rock edge. Harmony and melody, particularly vocal, are in deep supply on the album and it helps prevent the songwriting from ever sound overly stylish or aimless; instead, it’s clear the creative braintrust guiding the Lowpines project, Oil Deakin, has a clear idea of the synthesis he‘s seeking out and commits the sound he hears in his head to recording confidently and coherently. In Silver Halides is a colorful work that never relies on traditional instruments to carry the day but, instead, allows electronic instruments and post-production work alike to add layers and depth to the compositions on this studio collection. It’s the most ambitious moment yet for this project and Deakin, perhaps sensing that himself, drafted some first class collaborators like brother and drummer Jamie Deakin, producer IggyB, and talented flutist Jesse Chandler to help bring these songs to their fullest potential.
“We Come Right” eases you into Lowpines’ musical world and it’s a landscape rife with color and imagination. Listeners will have little trouble sensing the discontent and melancholy underlying a song like this, but it’s never a draining experience to listen in and Deakin instinctively understands personal confession needs to retain some way for the public to connect with those experiences. The warm production values governing the sound of this song helps give it immediacy all listeners will appreciate. Jamie Deakin’s drumming comes more to the driver’s seat on the second song “Broken Wing” and it puts an added punchy aspect into play for the template sound he served up with the opener. There’s more of an imaginative quality to the lyrics for this number, but the vocal and instrumental arrangements alike give us the impression of peering into Oil Deakin’s heart. It begins life as a more bare bones affair, like many songs on In Silver Halides, but the high pop second half of “Parasite” relies on a rich orchestral sound more developed than before on the album. Deakin’s talent for enveloping potentially ugly emotions in a musical velvet definitely sets him apart from many contemporaries thanks to the level of sophistication he displays time in and out.
“Gold Leaf & Amethyst” will win many over thanks to the loose-limbed stride coming courtesy of Jamie Deakin’s drumming and another excellent job with an often layered vocal arrangement. Deakin returns to the quasi-classical pop structure of “Parasite” and earlier songs for the track “Collecting the Fireflies” and its luxurious, imaginative development makes it quite unlike any other musical experience on In Silver Halides. Attentive ears will note how these songs are built because, beneath all of the studio additions, you can hear the core skeleton of a song behind each of these cuts and their fiercely beating hearts. Few songs on the album embody that more directly the rock number “Perfect Silence” and the authoritative drumming Jamie Deakin brings to the table for this climatic number. It’s a fitting ending to an album that, without ever outright saying so, wants to blow your mind. Real musical gems don’t come as a result of bands or artist’s self-consciously straining to write and record a classic. They come naturally, unforced, and steered by little more than the determination to deliver quality work. There’s an abundance of that attitude on Lowpines’ In Silver Halides and zero filler.