They refer to it as “ghost-like soul”, and yes sir, indeed, Shadowhand has nailed their sound pretty succinctly. This album feels like a soundtrack for evening encounters, and it’s pretty darn breathtaking. Well sung, well performed, well arranged, well goodness gracious, you did it, fellas: it’s minorchorderoticscratchyvocal sexy.
You know you want this kind of music and you know when you want it: late at night, alone or together, when you need just the right record. That’s the time and place for Shadowhand’s “Through the Fog”, which offers some intimate-sounding enormity.
The band consists of songwriter Jamieson Mackay (vocals, guitars and piano), Matthew Corbiere (guitars), Brandon Allan Walsh (bass) and Sean Tansey (drums). Their Bandcamp page indicates that the band is in toto responsible for the arrangements, which is impressive. This is a participatory outfit of fine musicians making the most out of some honestly stunning songwriting. Mackay’s vocals and song writing are just this side of the other side. He tells his tales of romance and longing in the most lightly gruff voice, like just the right amount of sugar on your bowl of Cheerios. And he’s backed by the most wonderful arrangements, drenched in echo and twang, like Otis Redding by way of Hank Williams and the Flamingos.
Something about this music feels really important, like the way the minor-chord-into-major-7-chord melodies dance around, falling into each other in the most exquisite ways. It’s like reaching into that cloud of music that you know you’ve never actually heard before, but you feel like maybe, somehow, you have. This music evokes the same feelings I had when I heard Fleet Foxes’ first album: that anybody who hears this music can and will likely enjoy it. It would take a cynic not to see the potential for a long-term relationship with music like this.
While it might sound as though I’m overstating the case or just engaging in some sort of journalistic flourishspasm, I will point you to the main hook in “Passing Through”. This sense of lazily falling ass over tea kettle into a cloud chord change is nothing short a knockout punch, delivered at the rate of hyper slow motion. I love it.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, listen to lovely lyrics like “Oh great sequoia, won’t you let me in, and won’t you love me like I’m human” in “Larch”, or the arrangement of the penultimate tune “Light of Afternoon”, which offers up everything you’ve ever wanted in an eight-minute-long song in just over eight minutes. This band is tops, I tells ya!
Do yourself a favor and check out Shadowhand’s Through the Fog. The ethereal album cover art alone is worth the price of admission, so be sure to put your hard-earned dollar down on this. I know I will.
Shadowhand will be playing their next show at Pressed on Sunday, April 28th at 7 pm. They’ll be sharing the bill with Montreal’s Pallice and Ottawa’s mal/aimé. Keep up-to-date with this and more of Shadowhand’s upcoming shows and releases by following them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Bandcamp.