It’s the end of September already and the beginning of fall. Many of us are wondering, “What happened to the summer?” Right in time for this amazement with the speed of time comes a new release from Denver’s A Shoreline Dream, Losing Them All To This Time.
“It’s an ongoing theme with humans to be thinking, ‘Wow, time’s going by so fast! ‘Holy cow, what the hell just happened? What year is this? How old am I again?’ It just starts speeding up faster and faster,” said ASD’s singer and guitarist, Ryan Policky. “The album kind of is the same way. The fact that it took two years, and it doesn’t seem like two years. The fact that we’ve been around for five years…it seems it was just started. Everything is eventually lost when it comes down to it. That kind of evolves into the theme of the whole album.”
Losing Them All To This Time is the third full-length for the group, which actually accomplished quite a lot in those short five years. In addition to the album there is the three EPs, tours and collaborative songwriting projects in foreign lands. And, not to mention, starting and running Latenight Weeknight Records, and all that comes with self-promotion. “It’s been craziness,” Ryan said, laughing.
ASD has continually been influenced by its surroundings, taking in visuals, both from nature and from the urban streets, and transformed these sense experiences into sound. Losing carries on that tradition, that story, with a few unexpected turns and twists.
“Ouderkerk” reflects the layered guitars of icicle tones and warm vocals, evolving quickly into a cacophony of drums and bass, transporting you into a brisk space where snow flakes are dancing ‘round your ears.
Ryan took his sights and sounds for that song from Ouderkerk aan de Amstel in Holland, where he had visited Jap Jap (pronounced “Yap Yap”) to collaborate on some tracks for Brim Liski (another Latenight Weeknight Records act) in 2009.
He’d met Jap Jap in the fashion we meet most people in the 21st century – online. ASD had been getting a lot of attention after the release of Avoiding the Consequences and the promotion of the album on Myspace (way back when Myspace was relevant). Jap Jap was one of many who got a listen and reached out to work them on some remixes.
Ryan and the guys were pretty enamored with “having somebody from abroad know who we are and want to work something with us.”
Jap Jap went on to remix “Never Changer” and “Love is a Ghost,” and on Ryan’s trip to Holland, the two also shot a horror film. The creativity never ends, does it?
For fans of ASD, you well know if the bands creative collaborations with Ulrich Schnauss, who also got to know them online and in person, having worked with them on the Recollections of Memory album, “Never Changer,” and on the aptly named “London” that was co-written by Ulrich and Ryan during his trip to said city.
Then there’s the left turn at Albuquerque that throws you into the city of “Marrakech.” No, this is not ASD’s take on “Marrakech Express.” The “take on a song” comes later. This is an amazing instrumental where flamenco guitar aficionados would take notice.
“It was something that Erik [Jeffries] had been playing on his guitar for a long time, playing those melodies. I said, ‘Oh, that’s pretty interesting. What the hell are you playing?’”
It was one of those songs that they didn’t quite know what to do with, but knew they had to do something. It took a year of molding clay before they decided to make it a part of the Losing… album, and even then things were still being fine-tuned with an ASD twist.
Finally, after Sean Merrell put on some tribal drums and Ryan layered a bit of electric guitar they just decided, “It’s going to be what it is. This is a cool song and it flows in the right way and makes sense.”
I’ve never known A Shoreline Dream to do covers, although Ryan admitted to me that there is one in his past, back in the Pure Drama days when I first met him. But we’ll leave that one be. For shits and giggles, the band decided to include a cover on this album with one caveat.
“How are we going to challenge ourselves to do a cover, one that we would never be expected to do, what would that band be?”
It turned out to be Fleetwood Mac’s “Chain.” Yes, that was unexpected. Now, I’ve gotten a bit tired of all the mashup masters including Fleetwood Mac in so many mixes, about as much as I am of Journey. But wow, ASD’s take on “Chain” was one for the record books. Truly stunning. I think I can listen to the Mac again.
“I think we surprised ourselves. ‘Let’s see what we can do, ‘cause everyone’s expecting us to Catherine Wheel or some shit.’”
Although ASD is known for lurid, dreamy rock, the band’s progression has resulted in more aggressive tones and energy over the years. “Dreamsong” and “Cometa” best reflect this, starting out with the very ethereal mood and guitar line, and growing into a strong sense of urgency, from the drums to the vocals.
The title track goes back to that feeling of euphoria, where you do get lost in this time…as the luxurious chorus goes. And then “Lost” brings the album to a close with a stream of sounds you might hear if there were sounds in space.
The ride one takes listening to Losing Them All To This Time actually has the opposite affect of the initiation inspiration. Time actually slows down, not in the way it does when you’re waiting in line at the DMV, but in the way you do when you’re finally on vacation with no agenda. Sitting still and doing nothing but listening and taking a big, deep breathe.
Losing Them All To This Time is yet another argument for listening to an album beginning to end, versus the growing trend of shuffle and single-song song purchases. It’s that aural journey we embraced when we were young and had the time to lie on our bedroom floors with our headphones on. I suggest you let the kid in you make time to do this.
The A Shoreline Dream release party for Losing Them All To This Time takes place Thursday, September 29 at the Hi-Dive, along with Jeff Suthers, Cacheflowe, Hearts in Space and Panal S.A. DE C.V. Expect a nautical theme that coincides with the release poster, a piece of hand-drawn artwork that took three weeks to complete.