Over the course of doing some research for this review it dawned on me that Shore Dive Records has been going since 2017 and is four years old. If you were to ask me how long the label has been going, I would have said at least double that, but no, they aren’t even old enough to tie their shoelaces. The label’s latest release is one of the best they’ve put out all year and is the second EP by new (well new this year at least) signings Futurafter. The information about the band is hazy, but they are made up of a duo consisting of Mir on keyboards, programming and vocals and Taranis on guitar and vocals.
The standout tracks are ‘I’d Dream of You (But I Can’t Sleep)’ and ‘What Shall I Do Now? (Now You’re Gone).’ They are chock-full of catchy melodies, fun rhythms and understated vocals that hint at a kind of pop euphoria that never fails to make me pick my ears up and listen. ‘I’d Dream of You (But I Can’t Sleep)’ opens with swirling guitars before it pivots into a Hip-Pop track. Pulsating beats, a sing-along chorus, and dank basslines. It tells us everything we need to know about Futureafter. The duo like pop, but also dense soundscapes consisting of walls of guitars. It’s a fun mix that yields big smiles throughout. Interspersing the EP are shorter tracks with Eastern European vocals. ‘Political Power’ features a quote from Karl Marx. This is an idea explored on their debut release ‘EP A.’ It worked well then and here it feels slightly more fully formed, but although these tracks are interesting, but they do slightly break up the flow of the EP. I like the idea, but I’d rather another strong track than a few that borrow motifs from the previous one with Hungarian vocals.
There is plenty here to get excited about. The melodies are catchy with a woozy feel to them. Yet, there is also something spikey about them. They don’t quite get in your face, but they have a swagger that is hard to ignore. It reminds me of going out in Bournemouth as a teenager and trying to navigate a dancefloor to, or from, the bar. Every time a guy, who didn’t need any more drinks but was holding one in each hand, wouldn’t get out of the way. He’d move the same direction I was. I never knew if it was on purpose or in his booze riddled brain, he couldn’t predict my movements and tried to make room to the music. While listening to ‘What Shall I Do Now?’ I’m reminded of this, and how much better that would have been if this had been blaring out of the speakers, rather than Steps.
‘EP B’ is a collection of songs that shows a band starting to feel comfortable with each other. It’s only their second release but shows some accomplished song-writing. Taranis’ guitarwork is sublime. He creates huge swathes of sound that lean towards a shoegaze aesthetic, but there is a delightful pop sheen to everything. This combination, along with Mir’s vocals, really separates Futurafter from their peers.