I’m a huge fan of Depeche Mode and New Order, so it’s natural that I would like UK post-punk band Lost On Me. Originally begun as a solo project of singer/songwriter and guitarist Martin Downing (who was previously in the bands Fractions, Lavotchkin, RoadToCairo & End Reign), the Newcastle-based act now includes his life partner and bassist Jazmine Rains (and on rare occasions, long time friend Michael McCaughy joins them on drums for live performances). Lost On Me dropped their debut EP Demonstration in April, including a limited release on cassette tape via Glasgow label Burnt Church Press. The EP was mixed and mastered by Chris McManus at Blank Studios in Newcastle.
The EP’s bass-heavy, guitar-driven sound is darker than Martin’s previous music when he played in other bands. In an interview with online magazine NARC., he explained “I’ve been a fan of the darker sides of the music spectrum from an early age and I think I underestimated how dark the EP came off until we started receiving reactions. I guess just saying we’re fans of Depeche Mode and New Order was a bit lazy on our part. There’s a huge range of bands that have influenced us. I’m a lifelong Joy Division nerd!” That love of Joy Division is clearly evident the moment you hear the opening track “Protection.” Martin’s deep, smoldering vocals at times even sound strikingly similar to Ian Curtis.
“Protection” and the next two tracks “Landslide” and “Balance” are incredibly dynamic, with Jazmine’s powerful bass lines, accompanied by strong percussion, moving the driving beats forward. Martin’s jangly, reverb-heavy guitar work is exceptional, creating a vibrant and mesmerizing soundscape. His echoed, mysterious-sounding vocals have a compelling, otherworldly vibe that perfectly match the dark instrumentals. The tempo slows a bit on “New Beginnings,” though the thumping bass, power drums and marvelous guitar work are still in abundance. Each track flows seamlessly into the next so that, taken in its entirety, Demonstration feels and sounds like a fantastic post-punk symphony in four movements.
The clever black and white video for “Landslide” shows claymation figures of teeth and foods dancing in what appears to be the inside surface of a very large mouth. Some of the teeth are brushing and flossing each other as a dark figure that I’m guessing represents decay prances about, at first playing nice with the teeth and desirous of their adoration, but then suddenly attacking them with a clawlike object.
The video for “Balance” shows frenetic sped-up scenes of the American West, a projectile tearing through an egg, a ball bearing or marble splashing into a bowl of milk, atomic bomb blasts, Los Angeles traffic in the 50s, and an old college football game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. I may be way off-base, but my take is that the images are meant to symbolize the precarious balance (or imbalance) inherent in both natural and man-made environments.
For readers living in or visiting the UK, you can catch Lost On Me at one of these upcoming shows:
16th July 2017 @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle w/ Thread Bear + more
21t July 2017 @ Head Of Steam, Newcastle w/ Irma Vep + Wedding
11th August 2017 @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle w/ Human X + more
1st September 2017 @ The Cluny, Newcastle w/ Twist Helix + more
17th September 2017 @ Opium, Edinburgh w/ Eager Tongue, Knifed out of Existance + more
7th October 2017 @ The Black Bull, Gateshead w/ Ghost Signals, Mausoleums & more
14th October 2017 @ The Catholic Club, Horden w/ Ghost Signals, The Black Riders Club
28th November 2017 @ Little Buildings, Newcastle w/ Boy Harsher, Eager Tongue + more