7/10 Robin Staff review, 21 February 2017
The emo psychedelics of Shadow Band lean heavily on the atmosphere you can craft out of disparity. On “Green Riverside”, frontman Mike Bruno places smoky guitar strums against the kind of swirling chords you’d find on a dungeon synth record, striking a balance between songwriter solace and medieval soundscape. ‘Wilderness of Love’ spends its time playing between these highs and lows -- it has a simple, accessible rock setup but wants you to believe in the highest of high fantasy.
“Endless Night” tumbles down a chord sequence worthy of Fairport Convention but throws in a shambling guitar solo you might expect from Eternal Tapestry, conjoined by a ghostly vocal choir that lays fog on the ground. “Shadowland” sees Bruno sing in a raw, trembling vocal, captured upfront, as a myriad of spooky melodies and gaping ambient chasms open up behind him -- it’s got a hint of bedroom pop splashed with neofolk, like someone’s championing him for something epic. On “Eagle Unseen”, the same modest acoustic chords that have driven the record are joined with ridiculous synth warbles and the occasional chiming bell, once again stocking up on the period piece drama.
You can hear the record’s construction come through: the backbone for each of these songs is revealed in those solo elements, where a singer and their guitar sorta mumble themselves into existence. The psychedelic elements are secondary flourishes, coming in to set a time and a place for proceedings. Moments show more synergy of the pieces, with "Mad John" offering a smokier take on Dylan's 'Highway 61' shtick, a bluesy bass line and slick, offshooting guitar solo dominating the scene. Ultimately this record darkens the door of rock stylings you'll be quite used to -- a lightly spooky but fairly homely listen for your non-committal goth days.
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- Wilderness of Love by Shadow Band
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