The Shades - The Shades EP
The Shades have gone from basement jams to festival highs in seemingly, no time at all. I've seen them live a bunch of times and it's obvious this seven piece soul/hip hop combo love what they do and have the chops and heads to create some quality sounds and make a lasting impression on the scene. So what about this EP then (available on line and at gigs) Well it's a fine piece of work and one that showcases some seriously good grooves and convincingly blends each member's skills. In a nutshell, it's a debut to be proud of.
Right from the start we're forced to see what being part of The Shades means. With The Day Is Nearly Here, the gat riffs over a party in the background (umm...hello? He's trying to record?) and soon enough we're introduced to Jellphonic. The man cuts and riffs like he's a character from a Kerouac novel, it's an uneasy rhythm but rewarding for its uniqueness. The hope-filled chorus is a highlight that would make Little Stevie proud, enveloping the listener in large melodious arms. Miss. Mimsy Cable croons and pleads, horns swing and mesh with guitar and organ, and we know we're with lovers of music and life.
Liquid Situation introduces a more thoughtful tone, its hushed falsetto strains, courtesy of Mr. Ben Anderson, and a grinding organ note sustained throughout, gives the song an almost menacing feel that is reinforced by a dissonant trumpet battle in the outro thanks to Mr. Finn Scholes. If that's not a sign of the band thinking, drummer, Mr. Alistair Deverick, hits us with a forty second sound composition. Great to see the band flexing some creative muscle.
Enter Caveman Stomp, with Miss. Cass Mitchel's bass like a large weight pounding against the brain. It's a dirty, back-alley groove, with a chopped lyrical delivery and it's also the first time we hear both vocalists come together - a good match friends. But ultimately it's Mr. Tam Scholes' track, the guitar riff and solo work are triumphantly filthy.
Jellphonic and 247 (who recently left the group and headed back to the states, leaving a trail of creative destruction in his wake) trade verses with ease on the most hip hop track on the EP, Downtime, or as I'm gonna call it from now on, The Mudman Slouch (nice Jerry). Lastly comes Shady Lady, which sees Miss. Cable laying it down just like a woman should...crikey! It's a tune that seems to have the best parts of all that has come before it. You get the driving rhythm section, layered harmonies, inventive percussion, lyrical expression and lush horns.
So it's all here people - hits, riffs, stabs, verbs, shouts, crashes, pick me ups and drop outs. Hell, I'm tempted to start a new band.