This is Shadow Box. It is an eclectic mix of not genres- but phases of rock all layered and served on a sound palette you’ve never heard. That’s because you can’t place yourself in decades of music history to draw derivations. They are an experiment that are tantalizing & captivating- a breakout from the conditioning of the repetitive themes that surround the contemporary soundscape.
Their lyrics are a Salvador Dali described by Pink Floyd. The vocalists embody Staley & Cornell- two rock vocalists that spearheaded the 90’s. Instrumentals are a rich mixture of folk rock to hard rock. What I’m doing quite poorly is explaining the diverse touch that this group has.
In the shadows- the songs
What Flat Moon carries:
Destination All– A retro opening is intriguing to say at the least. The scratchy vinyl with a stop and stare, jumps into Shadow Box’s explosive sound. The Alice in Chains style riff is a hook that is written with an undemanding conclusion- it sounds equally great on acoustic & the distorted electric. Both the Mikes (Roman & Rainone) do justice to the post grunge undertones set by the track. Probably the best track on the album. And we’ve just begun.
Without a Word- Drawing parallels with Velvet Revolver, Shadow Box check the boxes from Morello & Slash combining a furious combination to their second track. Vocals are almost strings at this point- pitch perfect & glitter to an already shining track. A sweet solo awaits as dessert at the end, along with some smashing drumming to already show the prowess of the beast of the band that Shadow Box is. One of the best songs on the album.
Come Around- This song instantly transported me to the Temple of The Dog era of Chris Cornell & supergroup. It really displays what Mike Roman & Rainone can do with harmonies and mirroring the melody, for this was within the minute my favorite track. The keys really shine on the acoustic parts, accentuating the vocalists’ stupendous abilities. Just a great, great song.
Upping the ante
Drowning Flowers- Opening with a fantastic acoustic melody, the lyrics really stand out- with purpose. They make you wonder, not just the lyrics- but how this band isn’t already an A-lister with such a powerful debut? What a solo at the end, a master class that the likes of the Aristocrats would give a standing ovation to.
Sandbox– Look at this point I’m really having trouble understanding where this band was all these years. This album isn’t a debut, it’s a greatest hits compilation. The instrumentals shine on Sandbox, along with the harmonics. I’ve already overexplained the tracks for now, if you’re still reading- I hope it’s after being bamboozled by the track. System of a Down with Stone Temple Pilots vibes all over.
The second act- more wizardry
Walk on By– You might not remember Fools Garden, but Shadow Box do. Almost sounding like an ode to their famous track which I wont name, Walk on By delivers a polished set of keys with flourishes & accents- minimal yet packed with elements that send a shiver down the spine. 6th track, and I’m imploding with questions on how much time they spent for this work, for it is phenomenal.
Boogie Man– Morello vibes are back with the track dedicated to Baba Yaga. The trick is to not expect what you’re going to get, as that is what happens. The ascending riff is memorable and swelling with a magician’s touch. 6:20 of rhythmic surprises. Now, if you’re still reading, you just want to know how much I’m baffled by this talent.
Tower– Around here, tracks are usually jammed in to play quantity over quality. Oh no, naïve reader. Tower is another impressive jam with definite Pilots vibe and instrumentals. Solos are once again explicitly explosive, the final section a definite ballot Hall of Fame for live shows.
Stay This Time– An inspired track with Imagine Dragons stadium chant kind of nuances, a superb song for getting the crowd riled up. With pop essence and rock compositions, enjoy this track when you need a pick me up.
The final act
Flat Moon, Part 1 & 2– Any album ending with Moon needs a closer like Pink Floyd’s prog rock classic. Bringing together a composition of CCR & Blue Oyster Cult, part 1 has the 70’s rock hysteria you’ve been craving. Part 2 is the instrumental jam, with a laced interpretation of Dream Theater but relatable. A mellow closer to a rager of an album.
If you’ve reached this part of the article, all it comprises is of an ovation. To creating music true to yourself, melding myriad genres that inspire and channel magic that only A-lister bands boast of. For a debut, this is the best I’ve heard in all the time I’ve been reviewing.
An absolute treat to the ears and soul. This is no ordinary band. This is Shadow Box.