Alpha Shallows - Set the Fires

by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2015-12-17

It’s hard to say what Alpha Shallows are actually aiming for on their EP, Set the Fires. The wakefield four-piece seem to have a love of 90s dark alt-rock, but with the melodic sensibilities of a band like Elbow.

This pays off well on ‘Solace’, despite slightly directionless drums, with Craig Walker leading us on by crooning 'Goodbye'. However, on ‘Flatline’ it’s a sprawling mess; the dark, foreboding picking and the dour bassline deserves something grandiose. What we get is an inane mash of words which rhyme with 'blue' and the repetition of the word “flat”. The tempo dips, picks up and then dips right back down again, and you can’t help feeling they’re trying to pull in two very different directions.

Musicians with a keen ability, this is by no means a bad effort, but the macabre opening of ‘Temper’ feels like blissful vertigo - and yet it doesn’t evolve beyond that. The attempt to beef up the second half of the track seems misleading, sounding like there are ideas on the table but no one is willing to really drive one forward.

Dark and beautiful in places, it’s a hard EP to get through only because of the tangled threads. The Gutter Twins also struggled with this problem too, but managed to get a whole album together, so who knows what the future holds?

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