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Album Review

On the band's debut self-titled album, Lowlights plays a very laid-back psychedelic country-rock. You could lump them in with Beachwood Sparks (without the twee vocals) or the Tyde (but with songs). Or you could compare them to the Church as the band's own label does, since they share the same gloomy atmospheric sensibility and deadpan vocals. Or you could compare them to an unpretentious Spiritualized, since they both deal in a layered, dense wall of sound. If you want, you could even trace the band back to Gram Parsons or Lee Hazlewood, the country mavericks who expanded the genre back in the late '60s. Best of all, you could forget all the comparisons and just enjoy the record. Dameon Lee and co-producer and visionary Dustin Reske (of indie pop faves Rocketship) have crafted a beautifully melancholy album full of sad pedal steel that echoes like a bad memory, sweet harmony vocals courtesy of the angelic Angela Brown, acres of layered strummed guitars, and Lee's slightly gravelly mournful lead vocals. Reske and Lee arrange the record like two studio magicians, making each song sound different but similar, like pieces from the same haunting jigsaw puzzle. The individual songs don't stand out from one another; they are all excellent, and from beginning to end the record is unified by sweet, reverbed melancholy. So many bands that tread the same lonely footsteps as Lowlights fail for one reason or another (weak vocals, boring songs, clichéd arrangements), but Lowlights avoids all the pitfalls and has released a stunning debut. One of the best, saddest records from 2003 that you are liable to hear.


Formed: 2000

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

Treated primarily as a side project for singer/songwriter Dameon Lee, the Lowlights took shape in 2000 with jazz vocalist and occasional collaborator la Brisa Roche. With additional musicians who are borrowed from other California acts such as the Batars and Mosey, the Lowlights' thick, reverb-filled guitars and gentle, melodic vocals would eventually be captured on their self-released, self-titled debut EP in 2001. The group signed to Darla records and in 2000 appeared on the label's A Gift From...
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Lowlights, Lowlights
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