When listening to Low Tide’s transportive debut album, The Alchemist, it’s easy to get caught up in the sweeping strings, the abject charm of creator Eli Oberman’s voice, and especially the sense of the elemental, the notion that what is happening on this record is not only a force of nature, but is also an inevitability. Oberman provided the following descriptor—“every song on the record is touching one or more of the natural elements.”
Low Tide, the recording project of Eli Oberman, Courtney Robbins, and Fen Ikner, take the arduous expanse of existence and condense it into a series of lovingly orchestrated and tenderly sung tunes on their debut album. Existing in the pastoral crevices that have birthed such mossy-hilled folk-classics as Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece and, more recently, the trauma-folk of Big Thief and the haunting warmth of Antony and the Johnsons and PJ Harvey, the band’s first release is lucky enough to not only carry this oft-under recognized style, but to insinuate such a unique perspective as to make something anachronistic sound fresh again.
The Alchemist, implicitly baked in the ambiguity of gender, the detritus of our internal and external lives, and a sweeping milieu of gothic romanticism, is a stunning document of not only a band in full bloom, but also an encapsulation of the world we all live in, offering not just a document of life in America in 2019, but also the world’s introduction to what is sure to be an electrifying future for the band.
In anticipation of the release of the album, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of sharing “Willow,” a lilting and earthy pop song. Oberman had this to say about it:
“With ‘Willow,’ I was interested in expressing the sort of peacefulness I often find in the way nature just reliably follows its own natural order, as well as exploring a sense of physically merging with the landscape and imagining myself to be a part of it. It was also the hardest song on the album for me to write. It was originally almost six minutes long and I couldn’t wrap my head around what to do, but Courtney really helped me find the core of the song and figure out how to whittle it down.”