Cooper Dalton (drums), Joe Lally (vocals/guitar), Josh Wharton (bass) and Logan Clark (guitar) are Shirley. The members are all students at Appalachian State University and put together a three-song self-titled EP Shirley that is less than ten minutes long. One of their friends at school recorded the band as part of his senior project.
The EP is hard to categorize other than general rock/pop. There are elements of bands like The Strokes and arguably Mac Demarco. As an engineer myself I can say the quality is good. It’s a little bit shy of what you might expect from a polished finished product that got recorded in a top notch studio and professionally mastered studio.
The band starts with the highlight “The Way She Goes” which is a fairly straightforward building off of major and minor chords and 4/4 time. It rocks but it has a little bit of the hazy, fuzzy sound that reminded me of Mac Demarco. The vocals are the best part of the song and are the driving melody.
Up next is “Trash” which has a pretty distinctly different feel. The song feels like it's consistent build up mode. I was waiting for the predictable, loud chorus but it never arrived. Even more odd is there is no hook really at all. There is a clear verse and it slowly fades into obscure single sounds.
Similar issues surface with “Rocket Appliances” which has no real chorus section. The verse in the song is catchy but the band simply plays a little louder, then just goes back into the verse a couple of times.
The band plays pop/rock for the most part but is deviating structurally from the best parts of pop. They are teasing with a catchy verse that doesn't have a payoff. The band showed promise with these tracks and I thought “The Way She Goes” was their best effort.
Overall, I think the band needs to think a little more about structure and dynamics. The good news is that they are a bunch of young guys in college and fall into a case of wait and see. Good luck.
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