Armed with a multitude of textures, Rockaway Beach natives Lewis Del Mar have managed to do genre bending things on their debut self-titled album: capturing the last fleeting rays of summer.
But that’s not to say it’s all feel good happy with Danny Miller and Max Harwood.
The pair have been garnering much attention since the release of single ‘Loud(Y), crossing international waters to wow audiences at Reading and Leeds Festival and TV appearance back home. So it comes as no surprise that the pair hid themselves away from the city lights when it came to sitting down and forming their full-length. Stapled by the powers that be into the folk-pop category, Lewis Del Mar rarely step into the genre. Sonically, the pair blur the lines between their supposed folk zeal and capture a more urbanised sound — through distorted ebbing bass, crashing drums and grizzly synths.
Miller’s vocals ooze with sultry prowess and attitude, at times revealing a fleeting sense of anger in album opener ‘Such Small Scenes’, rearing it’s head again with the line “Can you please sit the fuck down” in Loud(Y). Throughout you’ll find elements of soul, funk, East Coast hip-hop delivery and alt-rock timings. Earworm worthy in stature: the boys bring their sound to life, sparking imagery where there could easily be none: totally relatable and totally worthy of a press play and repeat.
Listen to ‘Loud(Y)’ by Lewis Del Mar:
On it’s surface, Lewis Del Mar could well be the perfect accompaniment to a midsummers rooftop soiree, but dig a little deeper, and beneath the bombastic melding of acoustic and electronic lies a compelling story made viscerally real in the space of these ten tracks. Lyrics like: “You said you only live once / You also said you love your boyfriend / But that shit’s not important / It never is / When you’re 22 and your parents pay your rent / That’ll skew your worldview…” ring out across a bed of distorted acoustic guitar in ‘Tap Drinking Water’: quite an apt statement if you’re a twenty-something trying to make it in a bustling city.
At other points there’s the references to Miller’s Caribbean heritage and lazy life spent waking up at 4am to go surfing, starkly contrasted with real-life house party samples in ’14 Faces’ and imagery of “…it always tastes the same trying to find some pleasure…” rent out with somber tones electrified in ‘Malt Liquor’, feeling like a drug-infused hedonistic story laid bare.
Listen to ‘Puerto Cabezaz, NI’ by Lewis Del Mar:
The lyricism certainly makes up for the lack-lustre balladic parings of ‘Islands’ and ‘Live This Long’ — both tracks which if found separately showcase Lewis Del Mar’s capabilities to slow things down and are achingly heart-wrenching, but after the onslaught of captivating, danceable riffs from the former half of the record leave you a little deflated. But that’s about as folky as you’re going to get with this pair.
With each sonic nuance carefully orchestrated and experimented with, Lewis Del Mar are an underground gem that will thrust them deservedly so into the limelight. For a band with a career still in their infancy, Miller and Harwood have an electrifying partnership that shines on their debut record that cannot be rendered into any established category.
Lewis Del Mar is out on 7 October via Columbia Records. Get it here: iTunes | Amazon