Brooklyn, NY gives us Shallowmar, a “dark folk” six-piece band. The lineup features Justin Brewer (guitars/vocals/songwriting), Marion Kaiser (keyboards/vocals/songwriting), Claire Moriarty (lead and backing vocals), Coralie Colmez (violin) and Will Wadsworth (drums). Bass is handled by Nathan Stevens and Conor McGrory. Wadsworth and the band produced the album.
Shallowmar, their eponymous three-song EP, is their debut release. It was recorded at their rehearsal space in Bushwick, Brooklyn (which is apparently much hipper now than when I worked there). Describing the work as “dark folk” doesn’t do this set justice, as each of the three songs brings different influences and styles.
“See Me” starts off with some lovely electric piano from Kaiser, and moves into a swinging, soulful, bluesy song that would feel at home in a smoky jazz-standards nightclub. Moriarty’s vocals ooze over the track, meshing well with Colmez’ violin counterpoints. Brewer lays down a fine guitar solo, and then Kasier’s electric-piano solo takes us out. Shallowmar is off to a good start.
“The Pit,” up next, was my favorite. The band starts with an off meter, using 9/8 over the verse, with the violin giving some folk color. They switch to a straight-ahead 4/4 for the chorus, delivering it in a modern, almost country-rock feel, with the backing vocals giving a nice extra kick. There’s a fun middle rock n’ roll jam, with Brewer slashing a few guitar notes, and Kasier’s piano-and-organ back-and-forth sounding like classic Neal Doughty (Go ahead, look him up.).
The EP ends with “Jump Free” and its boogie bass riff. This feels more like Broadway rock, especially with its vocal delivery and harmonies. Colmez’ double-stops are a highlight, as is her outro solo.
Shallowmar is a strong, interesting debut. I only wish they had more tracks! Maybe on the next one….
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