It had been more than a year since I’d seen A Shoreline Dream live when I caught their 2008 show at The Falcon, and I was amazed at the evolution. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in their capabilities; it was that they had reached a level far beyond my imagination of what I knew they could be. The band’s stratus vocal formations, twilight orchestrations, and emotive tones seemed to burst and overflow right off the stage, as if A Shoreline Dream’s subtle and beautiful persona had been thrown in a DeLorean and shot through time, going well over the 88 MPH threshold.
In a nutshell: this wasn’t dreamy shoegazer, it was shoes flying in the air and eyes wide shut. It was a freakin’ rock show.
Now on their second full-length release, the Denver group has assembled new tracks and a few songs from EPs for Recollections of Memory. As evidence in that live show, this new A Shoreline Dream material presents an even meatier version of what appeared on their debut, Avoiding the Consequences, which catapulted their touring spree over the past few years.
“Seattle” is tense and taut, spotlighting the percussion skills of Sean Merrell, while amassing an array of layered orchestration that could wake the dead. Heading south to “Manhattan Beach,” original elements of ASD 1.0 appear; the reaching vocal lines of Ryan Policky and rising sun melody, complete with a lingering rhythm that kisses the sand.
A few instrumentals appear, including the languid, Erik Jeffries‘ acoustically oriented “A Night Before,” that gives one a moment of quiet pause and reflection. It comes the closest to being the title track, IMHO, where the mind searches for answers to life in all its simple and complex forms, while wondering what the future holds.
For evidence that what happens in the studio doesn’t stay in the studio, ASD has included a live mix of “NeverChanger” from the EP of the same name, co-written and co-produced by Ulrich Schnauss (and mastered by Low/Galaxie 500 legend Kramer), who also appeared with the band at that Falcon show.
Perfect for consummate travelers, “The Departure” is a perfect look-out-the-window-as-the-plane-flies-over-the-clouds track, and was aptly written before Policky left for Amsterdam, marking a new point in his adult life and giving him a book of memories he will never forget.
And this is in a sense, the essence of A Shoreline Dream, the constantly moving stratus cloud formation, gliding over mountains and islands, cities and fields, moving for the sun to shine down or causing rainstorms. Organic in nature, electronic in structure, coming together in the middle to make beautiful music that rocks your ass when you least expect it.
ASD is currently working on yet another tour with dates soon to be released. Until then, check out their CD release show this Thursday, February 26 at the Bluebird with Moonspeed and Sonnenblume. If you’re going to be at SXSW, Ulrich Schnauss is playing Wednesday, March 18 at Elysium.
“Recollections of Memory” is now available on toneVendor and digitally on iTunes.