Being set up as the next ‘biggest band in the world’ by James Corden, Rockaway Beach natives Lewis Del Mar have certainly had a lot to live up to with their titular debut album. Nevertheless, with only really existing for a little over a year, Danny Miller and Max Harwood deliver an LP with exquisite chemistry in a way that makes the vocals and music slot together like a well oiled machine.
First up on the dreamy album is Such Small Scenes, with its tumbling drums flowing alongside acoustic guitar and searing vocals. This opener sets the overall theme and tone of the album, with its defiance of norms by a new style, making Lewis Del Mar into one of the brightest emerging talents of the past few years.
Up next brings in one of their more popular songs Loud(y) with a sound I can only associate with the likes of Jack Garratt … but even then, they’re a hard band to nail down. 14 Faces follows, and upholds the exoticism of the eponymous album with singer Danny Miller’s raw vocals and Harwood’s trippy synths.
Painting (Masterpiece) maintains the tumbling drums, and this time makes for a feel-good summer soundtrack alongside a xylophone. Nostalgia heavy backing vocals accompany Miller in the chorus, transforming Painting (Masterpiece) into a prized track on a solid album. Also, a cultural reference to Jean Michel Basquiat slips itself in and really builds on their New York honed-in happy sound.
The latter end of the album makes for a chilled-out break from the propelling opening tracks, and hosts an energy and dynamic that has become almost extinct in recent years. Malt Liquor follows up after Puerto Cabezas, NI and Tap Water Drinking, and has become something of a fan favourite. Following up, H.D.I. and Islands see a more heartfelt approach with the introduction of a piano to the mix, and their overall solemn atmospheric style.
Rounding up the album is Live That Long giving an airy close to an inventive and unorthodox debut album, in which Lewis Del Mar find their feet with their sound. Lyrically as well, it’s important to note the self-realisation within the tracks, and especially how this is mirrored by their music as they most certainly send themselves worlds away from our current era of unoriginality.
Lewis Del Mar are an art band providing a fresh sound where it’s most needed. The trinity of acoustic guitar, exhilaratingly reviving drums, and protruding synths become Lewis Del Mar’s idiosyncratic sound on this innovative and spectacular debut album, and is one that sets this experimental LP aside from a wealth of others.
Words by Jasmin Robinson, photo by Patrick Gunning