I don’t mean to blush but I’ve been a fan of Sophie Lowe’s acting ever since I saw her in “The Slap” which lead me to her other films including “Beautiful Kate,” “After The Dark” and “Adore” – all of them are vital pieces of cinema and it is quite evident that Sophie is destined to make the big jump to Hollywood stardom. When I recently discovered that she was transitioning to music I was fucking ecstatic. As an actress Sophie is world class, a true artist and her skill for tackling highly complicated and emotional characters spills over into her music.
In 2015 Sophie released EP1 and EP 2 and when combined they weave together 12 delicious tracks that showcase pop music built on smart songwriting skills and deep emotional drama. With EP 1 and EP 2 we find Lowe venturing into sparse instrumental landscapes with her vocals delivering context to all that haunts her. It is real and incredibly raw commanding your attention. It is no doubt part of Lowe’s creative DNA that both EP 1 and EP 2 are cinematic in their presentation with the music allowing you to paint your own visuals when you shut your eyes and ease into the sound of her voice.
The music of both EP’s have a steady electronica vibe throughout and aesthetically is in debt to the swoon and slide of 1990’s trip hop pioneers Portishead. The sonics are stark and bare with Lowe utilising the space to really stretch out her vocals covering every inch of these tracks with her disciplined ache. Lyrically there are varying degrees of hurt, loss and despair circling the authors need and desire to be understood by those who share planet earth with her. On the surface it sounds like break-up songs but the plea for a mutual sharing of respect spreads itself to so many other possible scenarios where the dread of being misunderstood occurs. This is music for the late night descent into heartbreak nostalgia and it does a fantastic job of framing all that is painful and all that is joyful about love.
As a singer, Lowe sounds uniquely beautiful and is able to balance the hushed dynamics of a crooner with the sweet shine of a pop singer. Combine this with her ability to experiment with different textures and moods and slowly you start to hear the rumblings of a true visionary who knows the perfect way to mix above and below ground rule books in order to communicate vital pieces of art. That is what makes both EP 1 and EP 2 so great and I just love every inch of it.
It’s no secret that there was a girl who stole my heart long ago and whose shape remains inside the soul of every yearning filled encounter I have with other female humans. Sometimes the fantasy is more pure than the reality and it is because of this that my mind remains her hostage with no real ransom available to dull the ache and set me free. It may be ridiculous to the non-believers but a muse can be murder especially when you search for the face of your yearning and some kind of remedy for sleepless Sundays. When love disappears, every brand new day is yours to fear with a grief so strong your eyes can’t hide it and as a result you build many walls around you to shield yourself from it all. Regardless of how much life I live in the meantime, she’ll hang in my heart forever. This yearning has a language that is heard only by the spirits with total belief that all this pity frames a scar and that in the end it will always remain as faith for the man and a kiss for the friend.
When I listen to Sophie Lowe as the vocalist I tend to slip into that place where that memory of love lost comes rushing back to me. The moment EP 1 and EP 2 on the stereo and plugged in my headphones I felt the sweet embrace of the chaotic emotional journey that is the sting of distant heartache memories. The music of Sophie Lowe provides the perfect soundtrack to this ache soaked journey.
This music is purely nocturnal and will always communicate more clearly between the hours of 9pm and 4am. Like the shadowy pulse of ex-lovers whispering into your ear there are memories of yearning (past, present and future) hiding inside the songs on EP 1 and EP 2. The darkness of it all allows you to trade your fetish for fiction and replace it with new kinds of motion and sequence. You’ll find yourself musing on the lifelong debate of flesh versus the spirit and as you try ever so hard to attach yourself to some innocence. No matter how hard you try that funeral march will continue to trickle down your belly.
The mystery present on songs like “Dreaming” and “Please” from EP 1 and “Pink Flowers” and “Breathe” from EP 2 pushing you to explore that shiver and all of that spooked out bliss she uses to suffocate your mind. You simply have to listen to the lyrics to see that Lowe is once again using very specific metaphors to illustrate her feelings and to allow your imagination to swoon and swing between joy and heartache. In the heat of the summer night Sophie Lowe uses her unique sonic language to penetrate all your angst as you hang spacious from the clutter of your hurt and safely drift away.
One of the real treats of this record is “Like I Do You” from EP 2 which presents a scene of catastrophe with a mood that balances what a monumental picture of hurt existence can be. Although peppered with a dense dark mood, “Like I Do You” still has a bright spark weaving in and out of it. The joy that is the satellite in your heart is what connects to this song, especially the “Like I Do You” refrains – that line gives meaning to the constant quest to transmit to all of those secret faces.
When you’re looking at life through innocent eyes it seems love and desire are quite simple, but sometimes it wounds and it’s so very smooth. That is when music like Sophie Lowe’s sounds best, when you are wounded yet optimistic. This is the kind of music that fires up your romantic imagination making you feel like that somewhere out there he or she waits and that 84 will be worth living for.
I’m sure I won’t be the only one featuring Sophie Lowe on my end of year lists – I can’t wait for her to release a full length album because if EP 1 and EP 2 are merely a glimpse then I can imagine that with time Sophie Lowe will become one of my favourite artists of all time.
10 Cassette Tapes out of 10
By: Dan Newton
(Editor’s Note: part of this review contains exerts from an original review I posted of Sophie’s single “Understand” back in July 2015 – my initial review gave the perfect description of how I reacted to Sophie’s EP’s so it only felt right to re-edit and add some new thoughts to these paragraphs.)
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