Sunday, January 15, 2017

EP Review: Shallow Side - One

The EP. As a format, it seems to be growing in popularity. As we consume music in new ways, fewer people bother sitting through the experience that is a full album. We want everything now, and in pieces that fit our short attention spans. It can be hard to make an impact with a full album, if you don't already have an established base of fans, so I understand why EPs are growing. They're faster, easier, and cheaper. They are also less satisfying, but that's just me.

Shallow Side is jumping on the bandwagon, using this EP as a way of introducing themselves before their album launches. These six tracks will give us a taste of what is to come on the full-length, while hopefully whetting our appetite to want more.

Things kick off with "We Roll", which is heavy on the drums and bass for the basis of the song, with a few guitar licks coming in to maintain rock credentials. It doesn't sound that far removed from what Fall Out Boy has been doing since their resurrection, albeit without the pretentious and annoying lyrics. It's completely different from the single, "Rebel", which is a more traditionally rock and roll track. "Rebel" still has the modern touches that make it unmistakably of the moment, but it uses the dynamics between quiet verses and the heavy rock chorus to have much more to offer.

That comparison to Fall Out Boy pops up again in "Fight Or Flight", where the background vocals that are used sound like something they would utilize. It's a popular sound that Shallow Side is working with, but they have more of a rock edge to them than most of the bands that qualify as this brand of 'rock' these days. That gives them a leg up on the competition. Rock music needs to actually be rock music if it's going to be any good. Those other bands are not, while Shallow Side has much more promise.

Look, is this really my kind of music? No, I'm not all that enamored with music that relies this much on establishing a rhythm as the key part of the songs. But, I know what the style is, since it's everywhere, and I can say that Shallow Side is doing it better than many. "Can You Hear Me" is a better song than anything a 'rock' band has placed on the Hot 100 in a long time, but that's also not saying a lot.

Is this EP good? Yes, it is. Does it make me excited for the album, when it drops? Well, that's a tricky question. It does its job of showing that Shallow Side has potential to make some good music, and the record could be very good for what it is. The issue I have is that I know this style of music is never going to floor me, so I can only be so excited by the prospects. But if you like current pop/rock. Shallow Side is definitely worth checking out.

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