Back in November 2017 (hard to believe it’s been nearly four years!), I first wrote about the young German artist Lowry Lane and his wonderful debut single “Find a Way” (you can read my review here). Based in Regensburg, an historic mid-sized city in eastern Bavaria, Lowry was born Paul Friebe, but chose to name his solo music project after English painter L.S. Lowry as a way of exploring “his musical self discovery, which aims to recklessly unfold the inherent conflicts he finds within himself and in the world around him.” He names an extensive and eclectic list of artists and bands as influences for his melodic and complex style of alternative rock, including The Smiths, Fugazi, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, The Libertines, Joy Division, The Cure, Nirvana, Wavves, Pavement, The Strokes and Kurt Vile.
The earnest and talented singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist followed his debut single with “Why Bother” in early 2018, and had planned to release a full-length album later that year. However, his struggles with personal and financial issues, as well as trying to juggle university studies with making music, led Lowry to put the album on hold, though he continued writing and recording new songs. Now, I’m happy to report that he’s back with new music, and sounding better than ever. In July, he dropped “New Waves”, his first single in more than three years, and quickly followed a month later with “Ghosts”, then “Angel Falls” on September 10, which I’m reviewing today. The songs will be included on his forthcoming debut album Lonely War, due out later this year. I’m fortunate to have been allowed a preview of the album, and it’s quite marvelous.
Many of the songs on the album deal with darker topics like failed relationships, loss and mental health, while still offering glimmers of hope and optimism, and “Angel Falls” is no exception. The lyrics may be open to one’s own interpretation, but my take is that they’re about someone who’s losing touch with reality, and possibly having a mental breakdown or experiencing a drug overdose: “Messy wiring, Flashing images, Neurons firing, Hidden messages, Thoughts expiring, Brain cells in distress, Oh so tiring, Oh so limitless.” Lowry then softly repeats the line “I’m coming home” numerous times, which is barely audible against the droning bass, guitars and synths before he sings the chorus: “Voices in the walls, Haunting silent calls, Echo through the halls, Another angel falls.“
To drive home his message, Lowry uses a rapid driving beat that to my ears sounds like a glorious hybrid of new wave and punk, with elements of Joy Division and early The Cure. He’s a fine guitarist, and I love his edgy mix of psychedelic and jangly riffs, which are perfectly layered over a chugging bassline, assertive drumbeats and ominous swirling synths, all creating a dark, almost menacing soundscape. His vocals are understated, and sung in a somewhat monotone manner, expressing just the right amount of emotion for the music and lyrics. It’s a superb track.