It was little over a year ago when Oxford four-piece Low Island got together. Already a couple of EPs down, with support from BBC Introducing and Reading and Leeds Festival, they’re ready to headline not one but two nights at Corsica Studios in London.
Other artistic collaborators set the tone by wading their way through the cramped basement venue dressed in Slipknot-esque needle masks while the band prepare to play the sold out venue. Green mood lighting descends on the 150 capacity as Carlos’ first moody vocals kick in. It’s a pulsating start with flickering lights echoing the rapid drums but it’s three songs in when one early track ‘Anywhere’ gets the crowd swaying, showing that the four-piece can move effortlessly between smooth melodies and big house bangers.
It’s ‘Holding It Down’ which inflates most on stage though as Carlos is joined by other vocalist Jamie for a bassier version of the song that oozes with the coolness of electro-soul band Jungle. Latest single ‘Tomorrow’ on the other hand shows off that gentler side to the Oxford quartet, honing in on Carlos’ feather-light guitar twangs. With only a couple of EPs under their belt, there’s a taste of more new material. ‘I Know You’ could be their biggest track yet, starting shy with a Maccabees style ‘We Grew Up At Midnight’ intro before unfurling into thick thrashing Radiohead riffs.
“We’re gonna take you back up again now” says Jamie before he spits and snarls down the mic on their most dance-heavy track ‘The Lines’ and Carlos takes over once more for ‘That Kind Of Love’ with vocals reminiscent of the now defunct Wild Beasts – perhaps perfect timing for Low Island to make their mark. “We never thought we’d do anything like this one year into this band” he admits before called back on for an encore of early track ‘Disconnect’ that twists and spirals out of control in a way not seen much since Radiohead’s ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’. If tonight has shown anything it’s that Low Island’s live game is well beyond their one year history.
Photo by Fiona Lethbridge