Shady Lane

Between Two

Written by: TL on 24/12/2009 16:58:11

Shady Lane is a name born by a three piece from the Netherlands, who were nice enough to send us their first LP "Between Two" for review a while ago, and given the fact that the band themselves claim the 'alternative rock' tag first and foremost, the task of analyzing it fell upon me. There's not much else to say in an introduction, so let's get to it, shall we?

Boxing in the Shady Lane sound isn't quite as easy as one-two-three. The first thing that caught my eye after a good handful of listens, was Remy Tjassing's slightly Maynard-esque lead vocals, but while the drums of Shady Lane are often similarly odd, the guitar and melodies are far from the crushing weight of Tool's machinery, so that comparison doesn't feel quite right. For a track or two, Alice In Chains come to mind, but still, this isn't heavy enough, the guitar simply stays too subtly in the background. For a while, especially on the first couple of songs on the album, I'm thinking that things sound classic/progressive in a slightly 70's-ish manner, but I still feel like I'm stretching it. So I guess as far as creating a unique sound for themselves, Shady Lane have done well, but the question remains; Will they craft it into some kickass songs as well then?

The answer to that one, I'm honestly not that sure about. With between five and ten casual listens behind me, I'm having a hard time picking up on much aside from the acoustic "Cold Feet", as the soft plucking of its strings brings some long lacking warmth into the picture. And there it sits, in the middle of the album, surrounded by cold, hard, droning songs, that seem rather unfriendly. Tjassing is no amateur vocalist, but while he whispers and croons impressively, on top of the melancholic soundscape, things quickly become almost too introverted to penetrate. The benefit is that if you really sit down and concentrate on what goes on on this record, then the mood is thick enough to really cover you from head to toe, but with few memorable highlights or otherwise distinctive moments, I think most will find this to be too dark an experiment for them to be interested. I think so, because in my heart of hearts, that's what I'm thinking. If this is the product of an ambition to be as uncompromising and special as Tool, then I admire that. But this far, Shady Lane may have composed an alright record, but they aren't capable of Tool's most important talent, namely that of dragging the listener into that dark, droning soundscape and making him swim like fish even in such foreign waters. A fair job guys, but far from addictive and far from impressive, at least if you ask me.


Download: Cold Feet
For The Fans Of: Classical, progressive, psychedelic rock'n'roll with small twists of Alice In Chains and Tool

Release Date 09.09.2009

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