No press release, no mountain of press pictures and no indecipherable twitter rants. What’s going on? Isn’t that the way things role these days? For some maybe.. but not for Galway based Tablets, a new side project from the ever wonderful Low Sea. A duo smothered with praise from some of the worlds most notable taste makers including Pitchfork and NME. No easy feat for an Irish band these days. Although the Galway duo are schedule to release their second offering ‘Remote Viewing’ in September it hasn’t stopped them having fun in the meantime. What separates Tablets from Low Sea is the departure in sound. Where Low Sea took influence from late 70′s post punk and electronica with acts like Suicide and Neu, Tablets instead opt for an early night of dream pop. Vocalist Billie has the voice to cater fantastically to both, but in this instance her soothing tone is more applicable to the later. Billie’s voice has a natural quirkiness that is rare to find around these parts so kudos to Bobby D if be the case. Her central European femme stamp, sounding like the perfect combination of Cranes front-woman Alison Shaw and Concretes / Taken By Trees heroine Victoria Bergsman.
EP opener ‘Hunting for your Shadow’ hints at a Chris Lowe influence in both melody and structure. The reverb soaked “I am hunting, I am hunting for your Shadow” becomes the chorus refrain while the bass section does it’s best Wrecking Crew staccato. Weaving in and out of a barrage of electronics. Spacey, dreamy, ambient but firmly relevant and focused. Never hogging the track, always leaving room for Billie’s vocal pattern to maneuver and enrapture.
The percussion heavy ‘All The Fall’ follows, the tambourine hits keeping the bpm firmly in place. There are some serious industrial undertones evident throughout. At times the slap bass (although barely audible) brings us into Tubeway Army territory while the combination of Billie’s hazy vocal and Bobby’s crafted smartly crafted rhythms sections have me on a Daisy Chainsaw nostalgia buzz. Not a bad thing by any means.
My personal favourite ‘I Fell Uneasily Loved’ showcases the finest vocal take on the EP. An absolutely stunning take from start to finish. Billie’s gorgeous hush drags us into a whirlwind of shoegaze electronica, minimal yet effective. It’s at this point, fans of Mazzy Star would be easily convinced of Tablets greatness.
Closing track ‘Sleeping’ is the only glimpse we get of the bands roots. There are flickers of Irishness in the instrumental textures and lead sections while the dual vocal comfortable wears it’s MBV influence for all to see.
If there is any complaint it’s that it’s a bit samey at times. Although Billie’s vocal is uniquely stunning for the most part, I’d imagine an albums worth might wear thin after time. Musically the transition from verse to chorus isn’t too creative, in most case it’s a refrain that let’s us know we’ve arrived. In this instance, it’s not like we need a superstar chorus or anything as it does work, but as Low Sea I know both are capable of better. If not ‘hunting for your shadow’ or ‘sleeping’ at B&B’s I reckon they’re safe existing as Low Sea, if Billie & Bobby want to try some Tablets to pass the summer months then why not eh? They’ve got nothing to loose.