Every time I set my eyes on the cover art of Shadowpeak’s debut EP, I can’t help myself feeling a sense of nostalgia. As a kid, I was a reader – I’ve always been – and I used to go down to the local library all the time, descending the stairs into the vast basement that contained the children’s section. Of course, I would go for the books on cars and dinosaurs, never really paying attention to the walls that were covered with images similar to the Shadowpeak artwork. Yet the same hard-lined, colour pencil drawings have always left that place with an aura and it’s that same place I’m transferred to whenever I push the play-button to hear the sweet opening tones of “Daisy”.
The reason I picked up on this band in the first place is because they’re from Utrecht, a large town near my hometown Baarn in The Netherlands. I was rather curious to hear what my fellow countrymen had to bring when it came to the shoegazing genre. Dare I say, I was pleasantly surprised. The aforementioned “Daisy” was the song that stood out the most after the first listen. Normally, I’m not such a fan of the hushed vocals that are the standard in this genre, but in the case of Shadowpeak I find myself rather enjoying them. The vocal melodies are quite memorable, quite contrary to the sedated mumbling that My Bloody Valentine tends to bring forth.
RELEASE DATE: 07 June 2014 LABEL: Independent
Going through “Inside My Dreams”, which sports some excellent bass playing, and the nicely layered and diverse “Remembrance”, the EP builds up – almost like a piece of literary fiction – to its climax in “Falling Down”, a distinctively loud song where Shadowpeak subtly scale the sonic realms of black metal and desert rock. To be honest this is the only song on the album, together with the following “Wild Dreams”, where the guitars fully come to their right. With the rest of the songs the guitar tone just feels a little too sparkly and the high end of the sound is almost eardrum shattering. I can never bring myself to spin the album again because of this, and a little more delicacy on the EQ would’ve done wonders already.
Most definitely, the production of “Shadowpeak” is no match for the quality of the album’s content. It’s not that the album is a terror to behold, but Shadowpeak has just done a wonderful job when it comes to songwriting. Hooks and melodies are memorable, song structures are diverse and the build-ups are clever, but thrown about in the mix, the songs as a whole just don’t manage to come out into their full potential. It’s perfectly obvious that they haven’t got the best of recording equipment on their hands, yet that shouldn’t make anyone refrain from enjoying this album.
This EP is a very decent first effort, and I honestly can’t wait until these guys get their hands on some better sounding recording facilities, because surely they have the potential to come up with something great.