Despite being a relatively new endeavour, Shadows And Dust have already covered some serious ground. They’ve conquered the Irish airwaves with performances on Arena and Pop4 and become regular fixtures on the Dublin gig circuit.
Their efforts have earned them support slots for James Vincent McMorrow and Michael Kiwanuka, amongst others. Along the way the folk rock quartet amassed a following strong enough to support a successful Fund:It initiative, which has allowed them to record their debut EP in Dublin’s Temple Lane Studios.
The little Unitarian Church on St. Stephen’s Green was a fitting venue for the record launch earlier this month as it transpires that intimacy is the theme that beats the heart of this EP. Lyrically, ‘Each Year Forever’ navigates the intricacies of melodramas but manages to remain sincere enough throughout.
Opening track Cobblestones comes to life gently and ends up as rollicking trad-rock where Dermot Kennedy’s soaring vocal duels with Lia Wright’s violin for prominence. Echoes of The Frames’ more heart-rending moments resound through this two-part epic. It’s great news if this is your bag because the bulk of the tracks on ‘Each Year Forever’ are arranged to intensify to a gradual crescendo.
Variety does come in the form of The Bridge of Sighs, a kind of Nick Cave-esque murder ballad, where Kennedy’s foreboding vocals are fleshed out with Wright on backing duties. Antidotal to all that darkness are the soothing harmonies of lead single Homely Ground. The accompanying fancy, ethereal below is well worth a look too.
Though they are undoubtedly a band of accomplished musicians, it could be argued that Kennedy’s voice is perhaps Shadows and Dust’s greatest instrument. He alternates a feral edge with harnessed emotions and finishes by showcasing his falsetto skills on EP closer I Hope We Go.
As an initial offering, ‘Each Year Forever’ certainly impresses. Nicely produced and polished just enough, their blend of traditional and contemporary sounds has definite crossover appeal. May the busy times roll for this gang long into the future.