When three college friends from Grand Rapids, Michigan, get together in a small recording room with just an acoustic guitar, you can expect to hear a very stripped-down sound. That’s how the members of Shore to Sky started recording their first full length album Scarcity & Abundance. The essence of the group from day one has been to capture the real things in life, the raw struggles and tender moments that are worth celebrating. From youthfulness, divorce, the healing of reconciliation and the complexities of relationships – it’s all there in this 12-song story. Sure, you’ll hear layered vocals, drums, extra strings and guitars but the rawness, the depth and lack of a “more polished” feel to the album is still there – just listen.
“Prelude” explodes with a loud energy that grabbed me right away and makes me wonder – if this is what the band’s version of raw, unpolished music is like – then please, serve me up some more! “Another Way” begins with thundering floor toms, echoing guitars and a big, spacious sound. I absolutely loved this one to death simply because of its “soundscape” approach. If you’re familiar with Lanterna, then you’ll probably like this tune. “Blame” is a nice change of pace, starting out with the vocals taking center stage. Keys and drums drop in along with a great spacious guitar sound. It shifts gears midway through into an alternative rock sound, then returns to layered vocals in the end.
“Divorce” delivers a straightforward serious message lyrically. I liked the instrumentation here with its choppy guitar work and vocal harmonies. “Hymn of a Lonely Man” features a beautiful melody on piano, tender lyrics and great sounding vocals. I really liked this one for its simple, stripped down approach – I’d recommend this one if you’re into piano and vocal work. “Dust” is another fantastic song which starts with piano and vocal, but it also features thundering floor tom work on drums and more fabulous vocal harmonies. This tune had an uncanny, inspiring feel to it – one of those songs that I didn’t want to end. “Letting Go” is again another song with amazing vocal harmonies and an inspiring feel all around. It also features some nice drum roll work on the snare!
“Turbulence” brings together strings, as in classical instrument strings, with a toe-tapping driving beat that’s deep and smooth. The bass guitar really comes through well on this song, too. “Dream” begins with bold vocals and an overall big sound. The violin work at the end, coupled with the vocals is absolutely gorgeous. The style and music behind “By Night”, not to mention the additional female vocal, reminded me of a band or a “sound” I know I’ve heard before but can’t quite name it as I’m writing this – don’t you just hate that? Anyway, this song needs to be in a soundtrack, like for a major motion picture – it’s that good in my opinion.
“Only Light” has acoustic guitar, vocal with additional background strings and keys. This song feels as tender and warm as a starlight night in the summer sky – as if you know everything is going to be alright with the world. “Olam” features the bands signature sound of spacious vibes, energized indie rock and gorgeous layered vocals. Whatever chemistry the members of Shore to Sky have together, I hope they keep it up and put out some more work – I was completely floored with their debut from start to finish! Maybe I am being biased, but I think these guys have something really special going on and it shows on this album.
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