PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 May, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 May, 2001, 12:00am

Just Backward Of Square


An audacious debut from a four-piece which fits - despite the album's title - squarely into Britain's penchant for maudlin, navel-gazing bands a la Coldplay and Embrace. Yet Lowgold have higher ambitions than merely jumping on the new Britpop bandwagon and display plenty of talent.

Even though the band wear their influences - Oasis, Radiohead and The Verve - on their sleeve, they almost carry it off. Some of the tracks on Just Backward Of Square are as overblown as the Gallagher brothers at their most indulgent, although not as long. The anthemic Beauty Dies Young has as catchy a hook as you'll hear all year, while the other singles, In Amber and Mercury, are worthy listening.

Through the 11 tracks, Lowgold straddle a thin line between wrist-slashing depression and stirring guitar pop-rock. There are some inspiring musical moments, but not enough to mark them out from other doom and gloom-mongers crowding the market. The album lacks originality and raw energy, but is highly accomplished and slickly produced.

For the non-initiated, Just Backward Of Square is a fielding position in cricket, a game which has long moments of relative inaction and occasional thrills - a description which aptly sums up this effort. Where do they go from here? Well, Lowgold don't seem too optimistic - the closing track is called Into The Void.