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Seashaped – A Story Of Trouble and Love

Seashaped return with their latest EP, which wanders into more art-rock territory, packed with non sequiturs and instrumental left-turns aplenty.

13906974_1243083862383172_2409389610316620464_nWhen we last saw Seashaped, they had released A Pill For Everything, which was a great listen and provided all kinds of musically interesting moments. Now they are back with an EP with a difference. A Story Of Trouble & Love takes the standard extended play format and adds a twist by including various interludes between each track, acting as a kind of palate cleanser but also offering a moment between each song to pause and reflect.

‘Tom Loves Rock’ is a hectic, blustering track that growls out some engaging blues, with fierce guitars that hurtle along at a frenetic pace and takes no prisoners along the way, before tumbling headlong into the sound montage interlude of ‘Something’s Going On’.

‘Alice’s Reflection’ moves in a more traditional folk direction, with its soaring strings that effortlessly draw out the delicate elements in the song. Here, the vocals lean very much towards the distinctive tones of Beth Orton, rich and silky and sitting perfectly alongside the instrumentation.

Mid-point interlude ‘No One Went Home’ features yet more collected spoken word scattered over a distant campfire singalong, before we are led into ‘Alice’s Plea’, which opens with a creepy 80s synth. It’s a popular and recognisable sound, particularly with the recent popularity of TV show ‘Stranger Things’. As the song unfolds, the acoustic guitar begins to take control of things, providing a confident backbone to the structure. This then takes us into the next interlude, again with a haunting, distant guitar which the lo-fi vocal sample creates a warm feel – a sound that manages to sit somewhere between vinyl hiss and campfire crackle. It’s a point on the record that digs deep into a rich feeling of melancholy and introspection.

As A Story Of Trouble And Love begins to reach its denouement, we are next taken into ‘War Thoughts’ – a rocky, yet steady track with a deceptively simple guitar riff that gradually begins to act like the pulsing of blood running through the veins. As such, once those notes suddenly rip into growling, fuzzed tones, a huge sense of passion and attitude is unloaded with a restrained ferocity. The spoken-word vocal leads perfectly into the next interlude, which this time leans a little towards the work of Public Service Broadcasting (if they were more influenced by Fleetwood Mac rather than the post-rock electronica that they tend to favour).

And that brings us finally to ‘Tom Came Home’, a song that uses so dark tones to create a sound not unlike Pink Floyd. It’s a perfect conclusion to this creative EP, wistful, thoughtful, and unendingly heartwarming with its swirling organ that drones in the background underneath the chiming tones of the acoustic guitar. Once again, Seashaped have created a record that on the one hand feels as familiar as an old friend, yet brings enough surprises and left turns to be totally engaging and enjoyable.

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