Those Shadow People – When The Lights Go Out – EP Review
Our favourite colourful, cartoon-creations are back in action; Those Shadow People continue their comic-book/art/music project with When The Lights Go Out, once again finding a stellar mix of texture, atmosphere and genuine creativity through all of the forms they take on. Something about the music feels different this time around…I’m honestly not even quite sure if I can put my finger on it but of course I’ll do my best to explain! That being said…there are four tracks on this new EP that pack a classic, rhythmic, jazzy sound that’s way-easy to dig into & enjoy…this much I know.
When The Lights Go Out starts out with its title-track, which also finds itself to a remix at the end of the EP. The opening of this tune is sonic brilliance…I love the violin like, SO FREAKIN MUCH! It sounds incredible right from the very first moments and continues to flash brilliance from there. At the outset, it would remind you of something along the lines of Beta Band or Alt-J with the smooth way the vocals find their flow…truly, this is a clever vocal-flow and it comes out brilliantly in the verse. The chorus POPS with an added layer of guitar and more pronounced beat thickening the atmosphere and getting the whole track feeling happy, fat and full – but not overstuffed. “When The Lights Go Out” will more than likely remind you of bands like Gorillaz or Hot Chip once the chorus takes over – those vocals switch their style up entirely…and if you ask me, it works and works and works throughout both parts in this song. Hooks strong enough to hoist Moby-Freakin-Dick right out of the water – it’s a brilliant opening and an extremely smart, well-written & groovy tune.
“Give It Up” is a pretty cool combination of classic-meets-modern. This second-cut has a lot of old-school funk and R&B sounds in amongst its loose-jazzy feel. Where it becomes a little more modern is in the writing itself…this track might remind you more of bands like MGMT or Minus The Bear from the more chilled-out tunes in their catalogue. Undeniable bass-groove keeps this track pumping the whole way through and stands out as the star here. Vocals are slightly on the fence for me in this one…I like the rhythm, I like the melody…not completely sure on whether or not the tone completely fits; the resulting combination is a little like Les Claypool meets The Supremes. It’s an odd-pairing…I wouldn’t say off-putting by any stretch but I do think this one will meet with a tougher acceptance than the inviting nature of “When The Lights Go Out” or even the final adventure/original on the EP, “Searching.”
I dunno…I think you can hear it…but it always depends on what you’re looking to do with your music…Those Shadow People exist largely to assist another story happening with their art through their comics – so you can’t blame them if not everything sounds like an immediate hit for radio. That being said – I think the qualities of both the opening title-track and “Searching” have strong possibilities for longevity and existence on playlists all over the globe. At nearly seven minutes long – to say it’s a journey is a massive understatement – but it’s definitely one taken in all the right directions.
Once again recalling a sound & groove much akin to the Beta Band – the bass in the verse of “Searching” is just freakin’ fantastic! What a rhythm! What tone! It sits perfectly and really drives the song throughout the verse, which is the strength in the song for certain. The chorus strips back a little, and might even lose a little momentum without the bass-groove – but once the otherworldly guitars take over around three-minutes in, “Searching” takes on a whole new life through outstanding, winding solos that lead straight into the beyond. I’m not kidding; the last three-minutes take you floating through an all-instrumental breakdown and eventual come back to strong melody through the lead guitar soloing off into the atmosphere. Those Shadow People will even momentarily convince you they were finished before starting up once more with a reverb/effects laden acoustic moment, full of delay and rad tones, beeps and other electrodes firing away as it ends.
The remix that ends the EP, “When The Lights Go Out (New Bang Remix)” is similar to something you might find from the danceable music of Bloc Party’s frontman Kele Okerele when he’s out moonlighting solo…but I’d still have to say this new treatment would still fall more into the Hot Chip feel for what I’m hearing. It’s a worthy remix that DOES do something different from its original version…it has merit…just maybe not quite as much as the original did for me by a couple points; that opening tune packs one hell of a groove and I missed having some of the vocals I loved in the original version that were absent this time around. But danceable…hellz yeah! Even from my chair – it just looks a lot funnier to people staring in through the glass door and into my life from across the street.
Check out what Those Shadow People are up to through their music & seriously-stellar comic book at the official page right here: http://thoseshadowpeople.com/
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