Looking through the annals of 4AD records, there's mention of Will Heggie as the bassist in the very early years of the Cocteau Twins. Deciding to leave the band after the stresses of a difficult tour, Heggie was denied the chance of being part of one of the label's most successful and original acts. History also tells us, though, that Heggie then teamed up with ex-members of fellow Grangemouth group the Dead Neighbours to form Lowlife. 'Eternity Road' collates singles and other highlights from an eventful six-album career making a solid case for their own chapter in the dreampop story.
Initial impressions suggest a group a little too indebted to the early Cocteaus sound as the almost oppressive doom of the rhythm section provide atmosphere to support Craig Lorentson's foghorn of a voice. Nevertheless 'Coward's Way' and 'Permanent Sleep' bore early witness to their gifts for writing sloth-paced gothic tunes. Even better than those two songs is the instrumental 'The Betting & Gaming Act 1964' which shows the musicians at their cavernous, rhythmic best. Gradually their singles ('Hollow Gut', 'Ramafied') moved away from the Cocteaus influence and in to lighter territory before moving back in to something of a peak on the darker echo-heavy 'From Side To Side' and 'Swing'. Based on the evidence of the selections from that period, the turn of the 90's represented the lean years as if the higher production values were trying to compensate for their lack of menace. Pleasingly, a four year gap until their final album proved worth the wait, offering the elegant 'Truth In Needles'; a more than fitting swansong to a useful career. Recommended for fans of dense production and slow, eerily atmospheric songs, Lowlife's decade in music is a story well worth repeating.