Monday 10 February 2020

Shadow Show - Silhouettes

Silhouettes is the debut album from Detroit three-piece who describe themselves as a "power trio of mysterious hue." Across ten tracks they take the underground garage vibe that their city is renowned for and twist and turn it into something that feels both true to those roots as well as remarkably fresh and modern.

Charades opens up Silhouettes with a bold rolling guitar line before the first lines "I could be me, I could be you, I could be anything you see" come in and that first thirty seconds captures what's so appealing about the whole of the album. Guitar lines dance around, skipping restlessly around the piece with the vocals coming through the centre, giving the songs a timeless quality and a familiar warmth to them without diluting the band's personality that is written loud across the collection of ten songs.

Contessa announces itself with another guitar riff that skates across the ages, reminiscent of lo-fi garage bands from the decades old Detroit scene where they learned their craft, but imbued with a fresh modern radio-friendly sound to it. Subtle layering of vocals and rich harmonies add depth and breadth and the chorus dares you not to sing along with Contessa's name, so natural and effortless the song feels.

Green Stone tightens up the interaction between the girls' vocals as guitars collide in a harsher variant on the grooves that have run through the previous two songs yet there's moments such in the breakdown where you can't help but be carried along on the song's momentum.

Alchemist continues in the same relentless vein, claustrophobic as they sing about hearing secrets through the wall in a hurried tone that suggests that they're here to rush you off your feet and envelop you in their world of infectious riffs that manage the trick of creating their own unique take on classic sounds by being more complex than you'd take them for on first listen. The record's unfussy production is key to that and performs a similar act on the album's lead single Shadow Box which starts off tight and taut, vocals flying around the place until it reaches the breakdown and they stretch out and spread their wings musically.

Trapeze Act is built around a riff that flits in and out of the song, leaving a sense of unease and uncertainty as to where it's going to go next, like navigating around a tight set of one-way streets with blind corners rather than the open road and it's an approach that's continued into Glass Eye giving a claustrophobic feeling as the guitars chime around the listener.

Dreamhead opens up, clocking in at close to six minutes,like the reins have been loosened without cutting the cord that holds the guitars in check. It's more fluid as a result and the vocals are given more space to breathe as the song progresses as they sing out counting from one to nine, but it retains a faithfulness to the rest of the album's underpinning ethos. The Machine opens with familiar chiming guitars but by the time they reach the line "reach for me, through the dream" it feels different to what's gone before.

The album finishes on the (almost) title track and it's part of Silhouettes' charm that it has such a consistency of approach and purpose yet no two songs sound the same - and the final track doesn't buck that trend. What it makes for is one of the most coherent together albums we've heard in a long time - yet without diluting any of the energy that the trio instill into their impressive debut.

Shadow Show are on Facebook and Twitter. Silhouettes can be preordered via Burger Records in the US and Stolen Body in the UK (on two limited edition coloured Charades or Dreamheads or an eco vinyl).

album cover shot - Jaimie Sanchez-Skriba

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