A Shoreline Dream – Coastal EP
Three tracks into the Coastal EP, A Shoreline Dream let loose “New York,” a perfect rendition of early ’90s British shoegazer. Subtle synth washes? Check. Churning guitar squalls? Got it. Ethereally reverbed chorus vocals? Yup. Hard charging beat à la Ride? Oh yeah. Formulaic as the checklist may be, it’s one that still delivers when done properly, and this Denver band grasps the concept in its entirety. It’s as exquisite a song as you’ll find this side of Chapterhouse’s first releases–aerial, escalating, and hungry. Honestly, this one track, a blow-out the windows trip, should be enough to put the band on a lot of listeners’ radars.
“Aftershocking,” the fourth and final song on Coastal, is a nice response to “New York.” Equally entrenched in shoegazer conventions, it displays a more tranquil take on the aesthetic. Less bluster doesn’t mean lower caliber, of course, and the band does a marvelous job of slowly and insistently ratcheting up the tension with unobtrusive drum machine beats and guitars processed through a wall of filters. These two songs represent two sides of the same coin and serve as A Shoreline Dream’s mission statement. The opening song, “Ukraine,” situates itself in the sonic space between these two tracks; it’s more uptempo than “Aftershocking” but deviates from the revisited sounds of “New York.”
Worth mentioning is the superb packaging job on this release, whose photography and design are a sharp, crisp complement to the band’s music. It’s rare to find such smart presentation from most established bands on larger labels, let alone from a group earning their reputation. My only quibble with Coastal is “The Barrier,” which fills the second slot and is about as straightforward a throwaway filler track as they come. Found sound samples play over a bog of distorted guitar and other instruments passing as atmospherics; it doesn’t work and leaves the EP much weaker than a shorter running time would have. Fortunately for A Shoreline Dream, the potency of the three ‘real’ songs here is more than enough to overshadow this mistake and acts as a taste of great music yet to come.
A Shoreline Dream’s Coastal EP is currently available on Latenight Weeknight Records. Visit the band’s site to stream tracks from the release.