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The Shore, The Shore EP (Maverick)
When I first came across a review of this LA band, describing them as "awe inspiring", I grew very suspicious of some record company ploy. But I have to admit, the Shore has some interesting, well-thought out songs. The opening song, "Firefly", has some beautiful bent guitar chords (à la tremolo-bar style), as well as great melodies. It seems most bands are too scared to do this nowadays, like it's almost unhip or something to be musical and do things slightly differently. For that we should commend them. On their bio page they're compared to "The Verve, Coldplay, and Neil Young". First, I'd take Coldplay and Neil Young off the list. Not only for fear of boring people to death (just by the mentioning of the names), but it's also way off the mark in both cases. As for the Verve, well, I have to say this comparison hits the nail squarely on the head. Frontman Ben Ashley's vocals do remind the listener of Richard Ashcroft, and you can't help but be reminded of the Verve when he sings. Regardless, Verve-influenced or not, there's some great vocal & guitar work on this disk, and there's a fair amount of stylistic diversity for only four songs. There's a nice sitar intro that opens "Makes Me Feel Free", which upon hearing I found myself suddenly being drawn in. Unfortunately, this was right before the song lunges into the familiar rock format, and then tragically into a "jam"-style outro, which made me think of bands like Kula Shaker. Yikes, please guys, please, don't go there. Thankfully, the last song, "I Found You", cured me, picked me back up, and left me feeling good about this band. This one recalls the Byrds, in their Sweetheart of the Rodeo stage, with a great country touch, back-up vocals, and a 12-string guitar line. It's probably the best song on the disk. The production on this disk probably sounds a little too glossy for their own good, but when the Shore hit their stride, it's easy to find yourself enjoying them.