If you are craving the sounds of The Verve, the spellbinding contemporary British pop band with a front man possessing cheek bones in high-relief, well there?s always your copy of “Urban Hymns” or Richard Ashcroft?s solo project “Alone With Everybody.” If that just won?t do, try nabbing a copy of The Shore?s self-titled debut, full of dreamy tracks with mournful yet ardent vocals, piano interludes and evocative guitars.This isn?t the first time the band has been compared to The Verve. The Shore, a talented, young L.A.-based quartet formed in the summer of 2002, has inspired critics to make comparisons to Coldplay, Oasis, Radiohead, and even U2. Giving it a listen, you realize that those critics are right. Every track feels familiar. You feel that you know the band?s songs, that you must?ve heard them somewhere before.
Even though it may not sound exactly unique, does that mean that it?s bad, trite, or clich? Not exactly. In fact, it sounds familiar because it works; as opposed to being annoying, it is satisfying in its sameness, and yet at the same time, it?s refreshing because they take that recognizable sound and reinvent it.
Founder and front man Ben Ashley has obviously invoked all the right muses in order to create this melodic and introspective otherworldly first album.
Released in August, the songs conjure up images of lonely deserts, dusky cross-country roadtrips, and summer sunsets taking place in the 1970s.
The opening track, “The Hard Road,” delivers a nostalgic desperation with twangy guitars and leaves a feeling of loss, but the fulfilling kind of loss. “Hold On” is the longing, beautiful track you listen to on the lonely bus ride home with your face pressed up against the window glass, taking pride in your misery.
Not every track on the album is a downer, though; “Firefly” is a catchy, upbeat song with scratchy, passionate vocals, aside from the illusory falsetto chorus, and the mid-tempo “Everything We Are” will have the audience moving. It?s a quality pop song that still retains meaning and integrity.
The Verve may have become another footnote in the history of music, allowing new bands to spring up and take their place.
However, in this case, that may not be so bad. Welcome to The Shore.