Indie-electronica aimed at a pop audiences can sometimes be at risk of falling short in key ways. Articulation is often lacking in vocal melodies and lyrics, which alienates the pop listener who is looking for emotional connection with the singer – whereas structures and melodies are often too conventional for the abstract tastes of the hardcore electronica beatniks. Thankfully Leeds-based trio LOUX are wise to these pitfalls, which they skilfully circumnavigate on debut single ‘Meet Me Halfway’.
The track is split into two alternating complementary parts, with small variations in the instrumentation being introduced on each repetition. No time for extended introductions here – the very first sound is that of singer Jordan’s lips pushing out the sibilant start of the line “Push me out the way, I’ll stay”. The synthesiser that provides the main harmonic backdrop is straight out of the ’80s (one could be forgiving for thinking it had been sampled from an Angelo Badalamenti or Vangelis score) and the bassline forms a pleasingly tight little rhythmic counterpoint to the vocal. Lyrically, the track deals with a relationship that was doomed from the beginning, mixing themes of misguided compromise and codependency with cold rage and pain.
Chris Milnes’ minimalist guitar work, introduced in the second verse, is especially commendable. He shows restraint and taste, utilising a scratchy, choppy, disco/funk palette on an ambient canvas to produce a tense, moody atmosphere. The production really shines here – the modern drum sounds really lifting a track that risked proximity to a Stranger Things soundtrack pastiche right into 2017. Indeed, similarities to Jai Paul’s ‘Jasmine’ bear comparison in the production arena – let’s just hope that Loux don’t pull a disappearing act on their listeners!
It might be that popular culture is calling out for more things that hark back to the neo-noir sounds of the ’80s (what with the release of Blade Runner 2049) but ‘Meet Me Halfway feels current and well-executed, and it’s well worth your attention.
‘Meet Me Halfway’ will be released on 10th November 2017, coinciding with a single launch gig at Leeds’ 360 Club – tickets are available here.