Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Shade-Fedra EP

March 1, 2006

Band Name: Shade

Album Name: Fedra EP

Best element: A good sound to build off of.
Genre: Droning, heavy indie-rock

Website: www.shaderocks.com

Label name: Lovely Recordings (www.lovelyrecordings.com)
Band e-mail: brad@shaderocks.com

I read once that when the Jesus and Mary Chain were young, they would play mysterious shows that sounded like a ten-minute wall of distortion. They would also play with their backs turned to the audience, presumably to ignore the existence of the violent mosh pits that their music created. I assume that some people knew which songs they were playing, but most people just heard the wall of distortion.

If that article on the JAMC is correct, then Shade’s Fedra reminds me a lot of the JAMC. Shade’s sound is a heavily fuzzed-out form of indie-rock that delights in crushing guitar lines, breathy vocals, spartan drumming, and sweeping synth lines. The whole thing blends together as one song to me, thanks to the pervasive buzzing of the hugely fuzzed guitar, which is the first JAMC similarity. The second similarity is that this album seems to be more of an artistic statement than an album that you just play for the pleasure of listening to.

It’s tough to listen to, because Shade by nature has a very droning, anti-pop sound- and they stay firm in that sound for the majority of this EP (the first five songs). These songs all pass without making an effect whatsoever on me- no matter how many times I listen, I just can’t latch on to anything in them.

The last two songs on this album, “Gunner” and “Slowfire”, are the only ones that remotely stick out in my mind. “Gunner” has a squealing, jagged synth line that breaks up the monotony of guitar drone as well as a vocal hook (“Do you believe?”) that almost registers as catchy. The guitars are also a lot more mobile than in previous tracks, and that makes a big difference. It’s what the album should sound like.

“Slowfire” is memorable because it takes a deviation from the solid guitar drones that they use so heavily. While not exactly a ballad, it does have a much more emotional timbre to it than the rest of the tracks, as the slowed-down groove, melodic bass, and chiming guitar create a more aesthetic approach than the rest of the EP. Even when the guitars kick in, they’re supplanted by a melodic piano-esque keys sound, which lends a lot of humanity to their otherwise jarring sound.

This will get looked over by the general public. This may even get looked over by the indie world. Some mp3 blogs might pick it up. But I think that Fedra needs to either make another album just like this one (and establish themselves as “sticking to their guns”) or build off this base sound to get real notice. Because right now, I can’t even remember what the tracks sound like except for a fuzzy guitar.

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@hotmail.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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