The Shore's self-titled album has been promoted as
a California take on British pop-rock, and a number of big
names have been dropped in the wake of the band's marketing
blitz. Names like The Beatles, Oasis, The
Verve and The Byrds. With such a lofty set of names
to compare themselves to, The Shore had to make their
first full-length album stand out to keep them from washing
away like all other bands trying to hang their name on another
Musically, The Shore does manage to capture the more
British sense of songwriting. Their songs are filled with
emotion without being overblown and melodramatic. Ben Ashley's
vocals are raw, grainy and filled with a more laid-back passion
that compliment the music well. Songs are arranged with a
strong sense of multiple layers and various influences. There
isn't just a straightforward bass/guitar/drums effort here.
String arrangements, piano and all varieties of additional
musical elements work in tandem to flesh out this offering.
The album opens with Hard Road - a soft, moody tune
that plays with a blues rhythm that rolls along, accented
well by the background string arrangement. Firefly
follows with a strong burst of passion as the drums and guitars
pound at you, shifting to a more dreamlike state from time
to time to keep the song from flying too far off target. Take
What's Mine is a soft piece that opens with piano and
builds to a casual beat. The string arrangements towards the
end carry the song out and into the face of Everything
We Are, a far more upbeat and stripped down rock song.
Waiting For The Sun is probably one of the more charming
tracks on the album. It's laid-back without being pretentious
and rolls along without much need for pressure. Opening with
a choral-like set of voices, It Ain't Right can't help
but feel like a Beatles track. Hold On follows with
a more country-like experience, proving that the band does
have more than a singular influence to their work. I'll
Be Your Man has a certain charm to it's opening, leading
to a song that's fun without trying too hard at it. Coming
Down ends the album on a lengthy but well delivered note.
It roars when it needs to, but always keeps its temper before
going too far out of the band's style.
So, is The Shore worthy the marketing title placed
upon them? I'd have to say that if anyone deserves it in this
day and age, The Shore has managed to make the best
case for themselves. Their music has more than enough depth
to carry itself and the presentation is casual enough to keep
fans of the genre more than interested.