Slocore. How do you define it? It has a sauntering beat. It smoulders through the veins. It sticks around like the smell of incense in a church after Palm Sunday. It works in crescendos that never quite explode. It stays around, haunting you, forever.
Shores are great at Slocore. They are also great at Space Rock. Their atmospheric tunes, drenched in overdrive, reverb and God knows which magnificent chorus/delay pedal combo. Album opener ‘Prettier’ is a warning shot. No richochet, all direct hits. It will be a brutal trip through cold fields of withered heather and overcast skies. You could be told that you need to abandon hope as you enter this album, but you probably already have and are happy with the decision.
Explosions don’t come from screams in the realm of Slocore. They come from heavy feedback, echo pedals going through infinite delays and open chords, as spacious as untilled fields. ‘Radar’ floods the place, like the molasses flood in Boston. Idaho meets Rollercoaster-era Red House Painters. This is a good place to disappear.
Now, if this review is selling you the idea that Shores is a gloomy album, well, that’s the intention. It’s dark. It’s cold as hell. But it’s not clinical. There’s a lot of emotion here, an emotion that not many people enjoy singing about. I wouldn’t dare to assume that they need the catharsis found in these songs, but some of us do. ‘Spirits are the future’ makes the skin crawl with its freaky beginning, segueing into a funeral drone. It could be easy to fuck this up. It could be easy not to give it the reverence it needs. ‘Spirits are the future’ relishes with a long running time that allows the band to create beautiful, haunting atmospheres.
And you know what? Sometimes you need to go pay a visit to those darker emotions. The ones as hopeless as the ending of Hans Christian Andersen’s The little match girl. Not all songs need to be upbeat. Not everything has to be a song of enduring love. There are gloomier parts of our psyche that need attention and Shores religiously knocks on the door of each one. ‘Astringent’ ask us to stick around for tea and macaroons. Not everything will be solved, but we talked about it and somehow, the weight feels lighter.
Red house painters. Idaho. Ida. Low. The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up. Hum (sometimes). Bands that explored our darkest feelings and came back with the scars to prove it. Add to this list Shores, who weave intricate slow ditties that know the abyss looks back. Might as well start a conversation, who knows how much you will end up knowing yourself afterwards.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López