This five piece alternative rock band from Coventry aren’t just a typical garage rock band. Their sound is much more complex than that, with effects and a progressive style to rival Australian acts like Birds Of Tokyo and Karnivool. However, this sounds like a demo tape and that lets the debut full length record by Speaking In Shadows down, as the vocals are rough and it sounds unmastered and unmixed, making the amateur recording quite obvious.
Original Sin is the opening track (aside from the intro track) and is explosive instrumental wise from the very beginning. You expect a lot as the intro riff blasts in and a scream accompanies. However, when the verse begins, the vocals seem too loud for the recording, and it is apparent that it was mastered in quite an amateur fashion. As with a number of notes that appear to have not been hit, a professional would have worked it over, or re-recorded! It just doesn’t seem like a serious recording which is really disappointing.
Every song on this album goes on for about 4 minutes. The shortest song is the intro, but that doesn’t count. So, the record is long, and it tires you out. The vocals seem to be very similar in every song. The Fading Lights is probably the standout song on the album, and features the lyrics from which the LP title is taken. However, the sound complications once again appear. The guitar seems a little off throughout the entire song, and the vocals are pretty out of tune again. It may possibly be what the band is going for, as it doesn’t seem like they want them to be any tighter. The bass is almost non-existent in the recording which may be the result of another mastering fuck up, as well as the drums levels being all over the place.
It’s just a frustrating thing to listen to, to be honest. You can understand what the band want to achieve, and you can see potential, but whether the recording was rushed or the producer was just shit, something has gone wrong. If the vocals were to be done well, they could turn out similar to something Ian Kenny could belt out. They have a similar pitch and range, however Speaking In Shadows are just not as comfortable.
In Melanoma the band takes a much heavier approach with some growling from the vocalist. It’s interesting and shows some diversity that is very much lacking from the rest of the album. A breakdown or two make an appearance where the drums are actually obvious and centre of attention for the only time on the album.
The next track, A Place To Hide Away, is not worthy of a spiel. It is played on an acoustic guitar, and has a female vocalist. It’s not a good track at all, and there’s not much more to say than that. Both vocalists seem like they have just woken up or are quite drunk. This could be due to nerves, but it is not good enough to be put on an album.
To conclude this quite negative review, Speaking In Shadows aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, if the band chose to release this album as an EP with 4 tracks, you may have had the patience and capability to withstand the amateur and quite dodgy nature of the music. But instead, you are left with 51 minutes of very average ‘alternative rock’. With a lot of practice and a lot of money, this could be a very high selling album. If the band were to take this all into consideration, we would love to see their name in lights one day, and we would be rocking out in the front row at a show, with a copy of the album for ourselves, and one for each of our friends. Just, not yet. Keep working at it guys.