Take a band with a name like `The Shore’ and you’re sure to find their songs being played on The O.C.. Oops, wrong. It turns out one of their songs is going to be on North Shore. My bad. And while this fact added to the one that they’ll also be playing live on Carson Daly’s show may make the band seem like fluff, well, you’re only half right. Sure, the band is extremely radio friendly and an amalgamation of pop clichés, but they are also a heck of a lot of fun.
The first track, which is also the first single, “Hard Road,” plays like Neil Young guesting on a Verve track. Singer Ben Ashley’s gritty and soaring voice is like a combination of Liam Gallagher, Richard Ashcroft, and Greg Gilbert of the Delays. This must be one of the many reasons why the press is considering The Shore to be Los Angeles’ best Britpop band. Okay, maybe they’re L.A.’s only Britpop band, but that doesn’t take away from the band’s accomplished sound, even if it is only their debut.
“Firefly” owes more to the aforementioned Delays than their British predecessors, but lacks the beauty that the Gilbert brothers and their falsettos bring to their music, and not for lack of trying. It almost seems as if he had listened to a copy of Faded Seaside Glamour before going into the studio and then tried to mimic the high-pitched beauty. The same is true for “Take What’s Mine,” a mixture of The Verve’s “Sonnet,” Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” and the Delays’ “Bedroom Scene.” The key here is to simply shut out the fact that the songs are derivative, close your eyes, and simply let the strings and harmonies wash over you. The Shore is definitely not going to be the next Coldplay, none of the previous so-called `usurpers’ ever did it, and they are probably not even going to be the next Verve. What The Shore will be is an enjoyable guilty pleasure.
While your friends try to establish their indie cred by listening to a bunch of sleep inducing drivel, slagging The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and Snow Patrol, saying that Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, and Guided by Voices all sold out, you can sit at home smiling gleefully and enjoying “Waiting for the Sun” or “Coming Down” by The Shore. Ultimately, if you long for the days of the Blur vs. Oasis battles of the mid-nineties, those days of picking up CD1 and CD2 singles for every Britpop band on the planet just to get the two bonus tracks, those days of hearing pop songs singing majestically with backing strings a la “Whatever” or “The Universal,” then The Shore is right up your alley.
Because, after all, Death Cab has been on The O.C.! Just as its namesake, the Shore has come in, and inevitably will go out again, but in the meantime, let’s all just enjoy the ride.
Oasis- Definitely Maybe
The Verve- Urban Hymns
The Delays- Faded Seaside Glamour