I wonder what "shoes and rider" means. It's a strange choice
of words -- as if two terms were chosen and thrown together,
and then an "&" was put in the middle to provide continuity.
And yet, at the same time it has the look of meaning something.
As if "shoes and rider" is a standard term in British Fox Hunting:
"That horse lost both shoes and rider!" or something like that.
I dunno. I guess it's not really too important.
Now, even though the name seems kind of thrown together, the
music that the band makes does not seem "thrown together" at
all. It is precise and organic. Guitars, cello, mopey male/female
vocals, synths, and drums all stew together to make a beautiful
and vaguely melancholy mix. No element really dominates, and
no element is really buried.
The choice of instruments is a little strange though. The cello
really is the lead instrument on many tunes (certain movements
on Reflecting Pools, Novelty, etc.). The guitar
is subservient to it. Then there are the keyboards -- well,
i guess that they are actually synthesizers. It's that sort
of high-pitched sweeping sound i associate with the soundtracks
to 70's sci-fi shows and to 70's prog rock songs. Then there
is the drumming -- which is nice and powerful. If it were not
for the drumming, the minor keys of the cello and the silliness
of the synths would make this EP seem depressing. But with the
strong drumming it merely seems reflectively melancholy.
This is the debut EP from Shoes And Rider. (Sometime soon i
will review a real "album". Promise.) Let me describe the 5
songs for you.
The EP starts off with the lengthy Reflecting Pools.
This song builds from tremoloed guitar drone to keyboard driven
indie rock to a short vocal interlude to a long cello drone.
The next track, Novelty is a slow number dominated by
powerful cello. This song also features the most vocals of any
track on the EP. The cello playing really stands out here. Very
Call And Response starts with those 70's synth drones
and light guitarwork. Eventually the song builds until the cello
joins the synths in carrying the melody.
Up next is Pendulum which has a real Hood
feel to it. That is, the beat is insistent and the guitar plays
a forceful and complex part. The cello and keys drone in the
background behind the guitar arpeggios. The low-key vocals are
muttered in the hollow spaces where the instrumentation downswells.
Very like Hood. To this sort of sonic template Shoes And Rider
add some really nice cello work. I like this song and think
it is the real standout track on the EP. It flows really well
and features the most interesting instrumentation.
Pendulum fades into Lead Me Where It Goes which
ends to EP with an upswell of synths, cello, and guitar arpeggios.
This is a slow song with positively sleepy vocals that sort
of drag along. It's a nice end song -- it's sorrowful lyrics
and the upswelling drums provide a real feeling of closure to
On the whole, i would say that this is a solid debut effort
and the music all works quite well. I look forward to hearing
more from this band, and hope that they keep up the good work.