Speaking in Shadows – The Anchor EP

SIS 4_RingMaster Review

In describing their new EP The Anchor, UK alternative rock quintet Speaking in Shadows said “This EP has taken us back to our roots – no agendas, no concepts, no gimmicks. We’re writing music that excites and inspires us, and hope that our songs will not only engage and entertain our listeners, but also empower and encourage them to find inspiration of their own.” What they forgot to mention was that they have also bred a new oomph in sound and delivery which whilst indeed offering essences which at times seem closer to 2011 debut album Standing at the Edge than previous EP The Lies We Lead, comes with a core maturity and power fuelling a whole new freshness to get close and personal with.

Hailing from Nuneaton, Speaking in Shadows have been building up a potent following and praise for their sound and live presence since emerging. Comparisons to bands such as Funeral for a Friend, Deaf Havana, and Mallory Knox have come their way whilst Standing at the Edge and the single Sweet Gemini began the flow of acclaim presenting itself to their releases. Last year’s The Lies We Lead EP pushed things on again with its gripping single Technicolour Trainwreck included on Keep A Breast UK’s Check Your Selfie album, with the likes of Four Year Strong, Finch and Man Overboard. Now the band has stepped up with a new collection of tracks which feel stronger, sound bolder, and persuade with the most accomplished craft from Speaking in Shadows yet.

SIS - The Anchor_RingMaster Review     The Anchor opens up with new single Capsized and a rousing blaze of guitar and rhythms to seize the attention of ears and imagination. A slight breath is taken as the instantly impressive tones of vocalist Adam Smith join the flirtatiously groaning bass of Sam Powell, their tempting soon aligned to more melodic flames cast by the guitars of Ali Carvell and Lewis Sketchley. With a resourceful and eventful adventure shaping its body and gait, the song as it grows, becomes gets more contagious with very passing twist to a fluid vocal and musical roar.

It is a great start backed just as enjoyably by Scatter. Led in by the magnetic beats and swings of Grant Sketchley, the song is soon unveiling its own emotive and hearty bellow loaded with soaring harmonies around the core delivery of Smith. Again the bass is a rich lure and companion to the fiery textures bred by the guitars, they only adding rich hues to the irresistible anthemic drama and tenacity boiling within the track. It is an emotively volcanic property which similarly veins Figure of Eighty, a more reserved but no less melodically and creatively pungent proposal than its predecessors. As it engages ears, the song bares its creative heart and emotion with increasingly intensity and prowess, that earlier talked of new spark and power in the band’s sound as ripe and forceful as anywhere upon The Anchor.

Bite growls and swings in ears next, barbed hooks as open as melodic temptation and the ever inviting tone and mix of vocals. Rhythms align more to the song’s grouchy side whilst sonic enterprise fans the melody honed fire burning brightly within an encounter which maybe took a couple more plays than other songs within the EP to ignite the same kind of reactions but certainly gets there in the end. The same can be said of And Grit which also is a more of a smoulder than instant incitement on welcoming emotions but grows into a lusty furnace of heated persuasion shaped by technical imagination and striking individual craft.

The Anchor closes with Easy for You, a track swiftly laying down a spicily tempting hook around which melodic elegance and rhythmic restraint sparks an evocative air leading to tenacious crescendos. The ‘weakest’ song on the EP, yet one that only lingers after departure whilst leaving emotions broadly smiling with satisfaction through a dynamic weave of sound and creative colour, it emphasizes the core strength of The Anchor and the new step in the Speaking In Shadows invention.

Speaking In Shadows impressed with their earlier releases but without doubt have hit a new peak with The Anchor. They are still not a band which you would suggest has come of age yet though which makes their potential and future even more exciting based on the strength of this impressive EP.

The Anchor EP is released October 19th.

https://www.facebook.com/speakinginshadows     http://www.speakinginshadows.co.uk/

Pete RingMaster 19/10/2015

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Speaking in Shadows – The Lies We Lead


Already embraced by eager enthusiasm and acclaim from fans and media for their live performances and earlier releases, the new EP from UK alternative rock band Speaking in Shadows, is definitely not going to derail their already potent ascent. The Lies We Lead EP with six highly accomplished and magnetically appealing songs will certainly enhance the reputation and stature of the young Nuneaton quintet whilst providing further potent proof of the band’s potential. It is not an encounter to push the band outside of the pack though, or to define new boundaries or adventures in their genre, but for a refreshing and easily enjoyable proposition there is little to dismiss.

Formed in 2010, Speaking in Shadows has already awoken attention with their debut album Standing at the Edge of 2011 and the single Sweet Gemini of last year. Both put the band on the map with promising strength which the band’s new release continues with pleasing efficiency. The Lies We Lead also continues the maturity and refinement in the band’s sound as hinted at in the previous single, to provide songs which no matter their success in persuasion cannot be denied their polished and passionate potency.

The EP grips ears and imagination right away with its first pair of songs making a thoroughly persuasive and exciting start. Splinters kicks things off and from its first breath is winding a sultry tendril of melodic bait around the senses, Speaking in Shadows - The Lies We Lead - CD Artwork (Front)its lure swiftly accentuated by a broader stroke of sonic coaxing from guitarists Lewis Sketchley and Ali Carvell. Just as sprightly muscle bulging rhythms from drummer Grant Sketchley join the enticement aligned to the deliciously throaty and dark mannered bass sound of Sam Powell. It is a dramatic mix making a vigorous entrance from which springs a restrained plateau of gnarly jabbing riffs and the instantly impressive vocals of Adam Smith. This is just another short flirtation in the rampancy of the song, its burst into a rigorous blast of sonic toxicity and rhythmic barbarism as anthemic as it is imposing. The track continues to twist and show an inventive enterprise which grips the imagination and emotions forcibly; it’s bullish yet melodically seducing creative charge a spark to raise real appetite for the release.

Its successor Technicolour Trainwreck similarly has its sinews and energy on the front foot from the off, riffs and rhythms planting down a firm enticing whilst grooves and melodic potency wraps incitingly around the punchy spine of the song. There is a swagger to it and a pop rock attitude which only adds to the swinging gait and captivating infectious call of the song, its anthemic chorus equally as enticing. A break into a slow harmonious passage is not as successful though the rhythmic climb out reasserts the song’s potency whilst overall the track gives the first a run for its thrilling money if without matching its heights.

Misled Soldiers is the next provocative track, its politically charged wording matched by the passion and rich flame of the music but both sides pale against the opening standards set. To be fair the evocative melodic hues of the song are perfectly crafted and delivered whilst vocally again Smith excels, ably aided by the rest of the band against a good rhythmic framing. There is plenty to please thoughts, the trying of a raw disdainful delivery from the frontman intriguing whilst the more hard rock stroll at its core makes for a good lead, but the indefinable spark which ignited its predecessors is missing preventing a good song being a great one.

The same can be said about both Breaking Silence and Moths, two tracks which have all the depth and tenacity to make a lingering impression but fail to find the same rich invention to flirt with and then seduce the passions. The first of the two opens with a raucous and abrasive texture of guitar and intensity which reins in its grazing for the vocals of Smith to unveil their narrative. The bass of Powell again impresses greatly whilst the guitars design a web to capture and hold firmly the imagination, but with a predictable yet thoroughly anthemic mass voiced chorus with feverish energy and intent, the song slips into expectation feeding realms. It is still another rich showing of the band’s craft and growing expertise before making way for its initially acoustically driven successor. The elegant and evocative caress of guitar is a charmed beauty to which Smith again shows enthralling expression and quality. It is an absorbing encounter which should have been left fully acoustic as once the band around midway bring their full body of sound, the song loses its singular enticing to become another song to fit perfectly in the well of many other strong songs melodic rock encounters. It is a missed opportunity but still a highly appealing song to whet the appetite for future ventures, as is the closing title track. The song is pure rock pop, its passionate and emotive verses a colourful venture with great rhythmic emprise whilst its chorus is an instinctive anthem for voices and emotions to fully engage with. Not the strongest track on the EP but the most contagious and an obvious lead into the release, the song brings The Lies We Lead to an enthusiastic and highly pleasing close.

It is fair to say that Speaking in Shadows is still evolving its sound and presence whilst The Lies We Lead is arguably an encounter which promises more than its delivers, but with both providing an invigorating experience it is hard not to take a real shine to the band.

The Lies We Lead is available now @ http://speakinginshadows.bigcartel.com/



RingMaster 15/07/2014

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