Summer might be a few months away, but Stephen’s Shore is here to fill that void for you with breezy guitars and relaxing melodies. Close your eyes and listen to their latest album “September Love” and you can almost picture yourself on that shore too.
“September Love” is Stephen’s Shore’s first full length album following 2016’s excellent Ocean Blue EP and their first on Spanish label Meritorio Records.
Although they have Stockholm origins the band site influences such as the American New Color Photography movement popular in 1970s, jangle pop pioneers The Byrds and 90s skateboard films as a source of inspiration. Stephen’s Shore manages to pulls these eclectic influences together into an album that celebrates the past and expands on its traditions.
Opening trio “Change“, “Don’t Leave” and “Ojai” showcase a mastery of 60s pop hooks and harmonies while “Gypsy Eyes” rides a driving rhythm buoyed by organ, phased guitars and some ghostly vocals. The following track “The Sun” however shows Stephen’s Shore to be much more than mere ’60s revivalists. Gentle acoustic chords, jangling melodies and singers Erik and Viktor’s crooning vocals are accented by a country tinged slide guitar that wouldn’t be out of place on a Ryan Adams album. It’s an interesting choice for this genre, but one that works remarkably well. The next song “Alvarez At Night” is a melancholy instrumental with some beautiful chord changes reminiscent of a lost Smith’s song. If I have one complaint it’s that I found myself wishing for vocals that never came. Album highlights “New Jersey” and “Counting Days” follow with catchy riffs and reverb soaked harmonies. They also offer some instrumental variety with the addition of subtle synthesizers which reminded be a bit of “Seven Seas” from Echo & The Bunnymen.
The album wraps up with “Why?“, a track that neatly sums up the variety of influences that came before it. Starting with out as standard indie pop fare and moving into a retro psychedelic jam, Stephen’s Shore sings “you say you can change, but it’s the way we’ve always done it” and you get the feeling this is the way they have always done it. Whether it’s 60s revival rock, indie pop, country or twee, it all seems to come naturally to them and the pieces blend the pieces together into something cohesive and confident.
Highlights: New Jersey, Counting Day, The Sun
For fans of: Real Estate, Swimming Tapes, Tape Waves, Horsebeach