A few nights ago I began what would become a hopeless addiction to the game Horizon: Zero Dawn. For those unfamiliar, it’s a Playstation 4 game that got raving reviews for it’s stellar graphics and vast open-world game play. Players can get lost running along vast mountains and exploring uncharted worlds; this feeling evoked from the game can also be said of the Syracuse, New York band Shallow Alcove and their last EP Blue Hills, and further captivated by their latest single released in August, “Home“. Shallow Alcove is a tour de force of enigmatic folk-influenced indie music that is the perfect backdrop to traversing a surreal world.
Shallow Alcove’s beginnings can be traced back to Syracuse University, where founding members Dan Harris and Griffin Goode met and began playing music together. What started as a solo project for Harris would eventually become Shallow Alcove, and after bringing in Nick Fichter on bass, the band would go on to record their first EP Blue Hills. Harris exclaims that the “record is a collection of some of the songs that we got to play together our freshman year. As freshmen, we were required to live in dorms on campus. That being said, one of the coolest things about this record is that we were forced to write and record the whole thing in our dorm rooms, only using one microphone and one interface input.” Despite the very DIY roots of the recording process, one good listen to the 4 track EP will leave listeners impressed with not just its production, but musical depth.
The opening song, also the title track to the record and one of my personal favorites, begins with an excerpt from an educational video on love and relationships from the 1950s. Harris exclaims, “It’s one of those really cheesy, dated PSAs, but we really connected to that specific quote just because the whole album is kinda about failed relationships of the past that we’ve all been through.” The track stands out a bit from the other 3, having a bit of a darker tone while still staying true to the bands’ indie/folk influence.
The latter songs take on a more softer feel, bathed in warm vocals, coupled with vibrant acoustic, folk-influenced acoustic guitars. The technical aspect of the guitar work shines most on the track “Warning Signs” (most notably the finger picking throughout and the sweeping that closes out the song), while the vocal acuity is most prominent in the closing track “Dark Desert Images” which also features harmonies and vocals from Katie Reahl of Reahl Photography fame.
The band’s most recent effort is the track “Home” which expands the bands more indie sound, incorporating the sound of a full band as opposed to the more acoustic-centric tracks of Blue Hills. The best part of “Home” has got to be the absolutely beautiful guitar solo that utilizes wah-wah and delay in the best way possible. If “Home” and the addition of new member Connor O’Brien on synths, says anything about where the band is heading musically, then this band definitely has a great future ahead of them.
Citing bands such as Tame Impala and Fleet Foxes as influences, Shallow Alcove is a must listen for fans of folk and indie music with warm pop aesthetic. Currently the band doesn’t have show dates coming up, but to get your fix of Shallow Alcove, be sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud.