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EP REVIEW: The Shallows, About Time

TITLE: About Time
BAND: The Shallows
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: September 27th 2012

A while ago, I was e-mailed by frontman Tom Skelton of the London band The Shallows and to be honest, I’m gutted that I’ve only just got round to listening to them. They are the kind of indie/alternative band I listen to by choice and am only delighted that their new EP About Time has now made its way onto the blog.

The British indie genre is becoming more and more saturated every day but only the best will make it big. The Shallows have a great mixture of the typical indiepop sound and alternative grit that should see them do well. They’re masters at ending tracks with guitar solos that leave you in awe and they sure know how to create an atmosphere.

About Time opens with Fairly True, which is the perfect pick-me-up indie song with a sunny disposition, making dull winter mornings that little bit more manageable. Tom’s vocals aren’t a million miles from that of Luke Pritchard of The Kooks but with a little less deliberate quirkyness. Tom seems to have that signature tone naturally and actually he’s got a better quality to his voice than some of the best indie singers out there. The opening track is festival-ready and with a great pop melody and ending on a catchy riff, it only sets the bar high for the rest of the EP.

Get Gone sounds like The All-American Rejects met Keane and decided to jump into a flux capacitor to the 60s. With a distant riff opening up the guitar-pop track, complete with retro “woo oohs!”, it has the right amount of old and new and just as you can picture a contemporary rock audience waving their arms in the air, you can also picture a swinging 60s dance-hall. Everyone is trying to go vintage right now but Get Gone takes you right there.

Arguably their best live track, Honestly also has that 60s vibe to it with a Pinball Wizard-like bassline. It’s a little darker than the previous two tracks and appears to have a lot more depth. A singing riff which repeats throughout adds another layer to the melody and the catchy choral hook is the perfect sing-a-long opportunity. It’s probably the most quintessentially British indie track on the album and as a result, it has a timeless quality to it.

My favourite track on the record is closing effort, Win Or Lose. Slow and relaxed with heaps of emotion, it could be regarded as having all the ingredients of being a little bit cheesy and/or pretentious. I’m pleased to say that somehow it’s neither. The drums build suspense, the guitar sings softly between the verses and the finale is electrifying. Smokey, resonating and something a little bit special.

The Shallows are an indie band that are only just beginning their musical journey in an incredibly overdone genre. In many ways, they are of course just like other indie bands but on certain tracks, they surpass a lot of the bands I’ve heard recently. However, I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it is that intrigues me about them but maybe it’s exactly that mystery I love!

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