EP Review: The Lowtones – Front Row Empty

The Lowtones are a five-piece indie rock act who hail from Norwich and formed just before the world closed down to deal with Covid-19. With things opening back up, they’re hitting the stage and have just released their debut EP Front Row Empty. Here’s my track by track review.

By Graeme Smith

Feature photo by Vera Kleinken

Despite their recent formation, The Lowtones have a bit of a classic sound. Reminiscent of ’80s post punk and Goth acts like Joy Division and The Cure, they bring a similar sense of dark moods and melancholic vocals, particularly during EP opener Let Go. The track gets things going wonderfully, with a echoing and memorable guitar riff, that leads into a fresh but familiar indie rock arrangement.

Track two Funeral keeps things moody, venturing even further into the morbid lyrically. There is something characteristically British about what The Lowtones offer, leaning into and embracing the darker corners of life, without disappearing into them. Despite the melancholia, what stays with you is their energetic and atmospheric instrumentals.

The guys couldn’t help but be influenced by the pandemic while writing this EP and that comes through strongly in track three Alone. Though ostensibly about a breakup, it speaks to a wider sense of isolation that we all grew familiar with at some point over the past two years. Again, the riffs are strong, particularly during a section of building to the track’s climax.

Near Misses lighten the mood a little, and it perhaps the closest The Lowdown get to pop on this EP. There’s a defiance and confidence to the lyrics that I couldn’t help but find endearing. The contrasting mood is perfectly placed, giving the track a fresh feel given what has come so far. It’s a definite highlight.

Closing the EP is Streets of Shame. There’s a swagger in its looping guitar rhythm. Regret and nostalgia intermingle in the lyrics and a soaring chorus is anthemic. If you weren’t already convinced that The Lowdown know how to pen an indie rock tune, Streets of Shame will do it. It’s the perfect way to round the EP off.

Though The Lowtones are delivering a familiar sound, they certainly make it their own in Front Row Empty. I feel like this is an EP to which I’ll coming back again and again. I can’t wait to hear more from them and I hope you’ll agree. You can check out the whole EP below.