“Melodipsych night music” is an intimidating descriptor for any artist or sonic collective. Could this be a strange blend of Brian Eno, Sigur Ros, and Porcupine Tree? As it turns out, it’s pretty close. With their new release The Silent Sunrise, Denver-based A Shoreline Dream conjure a hazy brew of post-rock, shoegaze, and middle-of-nowhere alternative, and it’s a pretty strong concoction, as StGA’s premiere of the album’s single will attest to. Over nine tracks, the band float in and out of limbo, defying genres along the way.
The band have made quite a buzz, starting out on a mortgage-funded home record label and ending up on samplers for Paste Magazine and Urban Outfitters. It’s a hard-earned victory for sure, as The Silent Sunrise proves. The title track has various shades of post-rock, from odd-meter grooves to fits of mayhem, while the body of the song is driven by upbeat drums and reflective guitars. In a seemingly dichotomous environment, Blue Oyster Cult-esque arpeggios and poppy melodies decorate its frame. It’s instrumental music as a purist would define it, and while some songs on the album do have vocals, songs like this prove they’re not absolutely necessary. The tunes that sport singing aren’t any better or worse than the rest, but the vocals add an interesting layer. It’s as if they’re simply another instrument, atmospheric and trance-inducing. It’s a good fit for the music and a sign of the band’s musicianship.
As a whole, the record is fairly unified, but as always, there’s an exception. “between” is a plucky acoustic number that (with a little imagination) could be an Andy McKee creation. It eschews the shoegaze label and creates a city-night-travel vibe that’s somewhat inexplicable. It’s a solid song, but it’s the sore thumb. Everything else has the perfect amount of fuzz and rhythm that hearkens back to Swoon-era Silversun Pickups––a fantastic thing, to be sure. “break it again,” with its delicate guitars and airy vocals, could easily be the album’s standout track. It epitomizes the band’s sound at this moment in time, full of harmonic structures within structures that take the backseat so you can fully experience the song.
The record isn’t a marvelous achievement that should be documented in the history books, but it’s a damn good album. It can be both the focus and the background either simultaneously or not. There’s a central honesty that serves as the impetus, and it contributes to the album’s success. It’s hard to say if A Shoreline Dream will remain a modestly known project or the next big thing, but The Silent Sunrise is worth a loud listen.