Oh, Jesus. Richmond, Virginia has proved a fertile ground for the heavier end of metal over the last two or three years, but the cheesy 80s synth and tinny-sounding drums that overshadow Silaluk (6131), the début three-track EP from quartet Shadow Age, sadly give me all the wrong kind of chills.
Changing their name from Colony some months ago, their ethos has remained post-Punk yet the feel loses some of that intensity. The rapid bass of the opening title track underpins coldly mellow strings, while lacklustre yet melodic vocals, a cross between Barney Sumner and Morrissey, enforce the pervading Mancunian air. Sadly, save for the lead shimmers and slightly more urgent delivery of ‘A Portrait of a Young Man Drowning’, the first two tracks have more of the Indie / Pop of New Order than the angular, piercing swagger of forefathers Joy Division.
It’s the booming drums and Post-rock leadwork of the moody, balladic closer ‘Innocence’ that finally give this outing a bit of steel. The building swathes of pensive atmospherics take the listener into Shoegaze territory, that Smiths vocal link ever more apparent and lightly dusted over the emotive instrumentals which are evocative of the heady days when both U2 and The Sisters of Mercy were both capable of appealing to the harder rockers among us. The sound that Shadow Age are peddling is indeed an attractive one in many respects, but overall it’s missing a row of teeth which would generate real interest outside the NME readership.