Silhouettes is the self-produced debut album from Detroit trio Shadow Show.
Ava East (vocals & guitars), Kate Derringer (bass & vocals) and Kerrigan Pearce (percussion & vocals) have been playing relentlessly in the build up to releasing this record and initial audience responses have been very good indeed.
2018 singles, ‘The Machine’ and ‘Glass Eye’, hinted at a band with real potential, and Silhouettes has revealed that early optimism to be well judged.
Silhouettes is laced with ‘60s psychedelic revival tones; Shadow Show have their collars up, their shades on, and they’re heading in your direction.
Opener ‘Charades’ builds steadily from ambient street sounds into a blast of retro power pop that succinctly introduces the band, their attitude and what to expect in the ensuing ten songs.
‘Contessa’ crashes in and blows the doors off the record – Shadow Show are not messing about. Contessa would not sound out of place coming out of the speakers in a dive bar you walk past but would never dare enter. The scuzzy guitar on this contrasts with high vocal harmonies for a sweetly menacing delivery.
The production on the LP could’ve been ripped right out of the heart of some lost underground venue – there’s sweat dripping off the ceiling, stale cigarette smoke and limbs all over the place.
Off kilter chord changes demonstrate Shadow Show are not just pilfering the best bits from a playbook written over half a century ago. Like all good artists they’ve learnt what works, redacted what doesn’t, and added their own spin on proceedings.
There are subtle production flourishes that bring a little flavour through crashing splash cymbals and writhing bass. The odd keyboard, or effect added to a vocal, such as on ‘Glass Eye’, helps to counter what could be interpreted as art-pop by numbers.
On ‘Trapeze Act’ the band go little more lo-fi, mix in an alternative signature or two, and perform with less aggression than on other tracks. There’s a menacing undercurrent that peeks above the surface before disappearing in a haze of shimmering six string and phased vocals two thirds of the way through.
Ava’s vocals pack a healthy punch throughout but are elevated on ‘Dreamhead’ with an intricate performance that follows the guitar and stretches from pretty low, via some playful dissonant notes, through to an expertly executed higher range.
Silhouettes is full of attitude that seeps through every chord change, snare snap and bass riff. It’s a sneering shoulder swagger, expertly delivered.
Silhouettes is available from Friday 14th February on Burger Records and Stolen Body Records.