Shaky Hollows is a band from Dunedin, New Zealand that recently released a four-song EP entitled A Communion Of Sorrows. The songs are haunting, melancholy and atmospheric while being able to combine closely related conceptual frameworks such as some of the music from Tom Waits and the milieu of the TV show True Detective (season 1).
“The Shipwreck Song” is the opening song and you are greeted with a guitar with some tremolo and reverb. I loved the vocals right off the bat which are steeped in sadness but work out just fine because of the heartfelt performance. An accordion slides its way in and bass and drums soon follow. The song is a slow burn that grows and mixes elements of a spaghetti western with the atmosphere of a band like Mazzy Star.
The mood gets a little more festive with “Whisky, the Redeemer” which has a waltz type feel and rhythm that you may have heard from Tom Waits. In fact the topic itself felt Tom Waits inspired. It's delightful and still thoroughly covered in melancholy although you can do a little jig to it if you want.
The energy increases even more with “Wing n' Claw.” It’s the drum and bass work which gets the song off the ground. The song is built off a pretty basic blues scale but the delivery would make it work in the TV series True Detective.
The EP closes with “Blackbird” which isn’t a cover of the famous song by The Beatles. It brings down the mood to a cold chill. It’s a song that’s too haunting to play at a children's birthday party or hum above your ears while shopping for groceries. This is a song that sounds best in the late night or early dawn hours and might provide a fleeting moment of clarity and solace after an excessive evening of “my wife is having an affair” type drinking.
Shaky Hollows figured out how to get the southern gothic country/folk thing right. This music above maybe all else is haunting at the center of your core type of way even when at its most festive. The band took on a unique genre where all the pieces have to fall together to pull off. They pulled it off and I will say it’s no easy feat. This is an great EP and I hope to hear a full length.
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