Lee Hawthorn

Lisbon hit a bump in the road with new I Don't Know single

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Lisbon

Since February 2014, courtesy of Blue Love, Lisbon have been on a roll of successes. The aqua-funk band have headlined sold out shows, opened up for internationally known bands around the country and been given their due praise by a plethora of BBC Radio 1 presenters, as the UK’s dominant music station played their phenomenal singles on repeat.

The pressure has been on with each successive single to better, or at the very least equate to its predecessor, and while Blue Love still reigns supreme as their magnum opus so far, Rio and Native each brought something different, but equally loveable, to the table and managed to maintain the momentum created by their brilliant breakthrough. With the latest offering, I Don’t Know, there might finally be a bump in the road, but one they should soon get over.

The magic of the triple threat that precedes the record premiered by Huw Stephens, is their up-tempo vibes. Blue Love’s intoxicating catchiness that encourages a sing-a-long, Rio’s instrumental break, that implores listeners to throw their best shapes, and the anthemic Native’s status as a potential cult-classic, consequential of its resonating lyricism are all missing on I Don’t Know. It’s not a bad song, far from it. It just doesn’t match up as a single, when compared to the others released from their impending Life Is Good EP.

When Varty sings “this could be the start of something, the start of something good”, the potential the track has is evident, but the dark, brooding tones leave it feeling less like an optimistic ode to the future, than it does a wasted opportunity. The track might have sounded at home on the band’s debut extended play, as an interlude between the more radio-ready records that have proven successes but falls short of the spectacular standard set by them.

It certainly feels as though I Don’t Know will be earning praise purely because of the wave created by Blue Love, and while Lisbon can be forgiven for this minor mistake, and I expect them to come back stronger with a (Liberty City?) follow-up, they might want to tread carefully with the next release.

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