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The title track and the fantastic “Alarms Stop Ringing” have done a great job paving the way for this new album, the band’s first post-covid release. If the two songs promised something both firmly in the A Shoreline Dream canon and yet wonderfully exploratory and adventurous, then even they didn’t prepare the listener for an album of this magnitude.
The key to A Shoreline Dream’s sound is subversion. They subvert the gothic sound with more progressive approaches, and where most such artists are happy to lean into the past and play with otherworldly fantasy, A Shoreline Dream prefers to move with the times and comment on the real world. Their dream-pop soundscapes are raw-edged and abrasive rather than mellow and ambient. Their post-rock urges are both cavernous and melodic. And through all of this twisting of form and function, this thwarting of listener expectation, this aversion to conformity, the ASD sound is born.
And for all the weight that the music carries, for all of the angularity and jagged edges, the moodiness and dark synth washes, the challenging sounds and unique sonic creativity, Loveblind seems celebratory. In the same way that the lockdown era has left us all trying to recapture the now relative simplicity of the post-covid years, Loveblind appears to reach for the same modest pleasures in the form of new experiences. We want to love and lust and equally long for and lose, perhaps summed up best in the title track itself.
There are moments of dark and delicious invention, such as “The Spring Comes Clean”‘s dense and spiralling tones and textures. There are moments of industrial raucousness and raw sonic sound blasts, as in “Harlow Syndrome” and the dark dance that is “Mariupol” reminds us that this is a band that lives in the real world.
It is A Shoreline Dream doing what they do best. Vast gothic soundscapes are twisted into deft and sometimes delicate shapes, brutalist salvos of music are shaped and refined into ornate structures, and drifting ambience is piled so high, layer upon layer, until it becomes claustrophobic and dense.
It’s what A Shoreline Dream do; it’s what they excel at. It’s who they are.
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