Reviews Shadow in the Cracks Shadow in the Cracks

Shadow in the Cracks

Shadow in the Cracks

What does it mean when a three-piece band has a spin-off two-piece? While the premonition is that drama is afoot for member number three, that’s probably overthinking it. At least in the case of Shadow in the Cracks, a side project of The Blind Shake where brothers Blaha split off from their main gig for a more ambient approach at noise rock.

With Mike Blaha on vocals and baritone guitar, Jim Blaha on guitar, and the two splitting mild percussive flourishes, the side project 9-song debut is both familiar and new. The voices and tones expressed over a half-hour aren’t unfamiliar to Blind Shake fans, but it’s drawn out and sparse. Contemplative and taking its time instead of their other project’s highly motivated punctuality. The Blind Shake is the striving sibling, Shadow in the Cracks the quiet and thoughtful one in the corner.

“Timeless” kicks it off. It’s probably the highest energy song on the record—and the shortest and most similar to Blind Shake. However, it’s less fun and more ominous, indicative of the turn of direction that isn’t exactly dark, but it’s more distant, removed, and self-contained. Across the record, it’s more subdued than the opener. Songs stretch into the 3-6 minute range with a quiet and repetitive format, atmospheric and less attention grabbing. Shades of pop in The Blind Shake are replaced with a more atonal focus here, and that’s sort of the idea behind the band. There’s a lot of detuned distortion, as in eponymous track “Shadow in the Cracks,” which is really the standout in breaking that wall away from their other band and taking things in a new direction. While the opening half takes its time in breaking off in that new direction, the latter half of the record is where Shadows in the Cracks, as the kids (who are now middle-aged) once said, is where it’s at.

First impressions of Shadow in the Cracks were removed—it feels atmospheric and more “background,” but the record is a grower, connecting in tonal frequency and a unified and sometimes almost barbaric percussive touch that really makes it click, as when the title track peaks at the 2:20 mark with stunted rage, trying to break from the proverbial tonal box but cannot. Shadow in the Cracks is a tunneling mania on the precipice of breaking free.

And speaking of being trapped, let’s go for one final mixed metaphor.

Too ambient for the psych-garage scene and too melodic for noise rock, Shadow in the Cracks is treading some turbulent waters on their debut. While the water may look unwelcoming, after a few minutes in, it feels just right.

7.3 / 10Loren
Advertisement
Radio K 2
Leave a comment

Goner

2015

7.3 / 10

7.3 / 10

Share this content
Advertisement
Radio K 2
Recent reviews

Converge

Beautiful Ruin

8.0 / 10 Converge - Beautiful Ruin album cover

Converge—Nietzsche’s pissed off nephew, Rilke’s furious friend—achieves a glimmering consummation in a mishmash of fourness (which, in numerology, symbolizes spiritual wholeness). They went from thrash titans to sonic gods; now ...

Northwoods

Wasteland

7.8 / 10 Northwoods - Wasteland  album cover

'[T]here the nightingale filled all the desert with inviolable voice and still she cried, and still the world pursues, "Jug Jug" to dirty ears.' And likewise, with dirty ears, the ...

The Bils

Past Masters: Volume 1

6.5 / 10 The Bils - Past Masters: Volume 1 album cover

The Bils are Bil and Michelle Bilson, a husband-wife duo that play laid back rock schooled by classic duets. Depending which paragraph of their press sheet you’re reading, they are ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.