As the opening shimmering salvo and drifting haze of Turned Too Slow washes out of the speakers you know that you have found your way back to a very special musical place. But even though e.ps and singles have kept us abreast of the what has been going on there, it seems a rawer and often more cavernous place than we remember. Although 2014’s A Silent Sunrise certainly had moments of guitar-driven excess, tracks such as The Tempting Flood’s sonic assault feels a lot like new territory being explored.
But that has always been the great thing about A Shoreline Dream, they are great at setting themselves musical boundaries and lines in the sand just for the purpose of immediately stepping beyond them. Or so it seems. And as always, Melting is an album of wild and weird contrasts. Downstairs Sundays is a brief and beautify slice of acoustica being gradually subsumed by rising electronica before sinking beneath the waves, a world away from The Oceans Above which manifests as a searing, snarling shard of incisor-like six-strings and skin-piercing sonic attacks.
And if it would seem as if there is a theme developing in the titles, then it is worth noting that the band themselves describe the album as capturing “the feeling of being lost-at-sea in a world burning ashore” and an album revealing in the need for change, total and unwavering and what it might mean to be carried along in the wake of such a world.
As always A Shoreline Dream are difficult to pin down musically. Pull at one sonic thread and you will find yourself clutching a strand of sky-searing, post-rock guitar, another might turn out to be made of shimmering, ambient electronica, a third skittering, off-kilter rhythms, a fourth hazy shoegazing psychedelia, and so on and on and on…
A Shoreline Dream have a healthy back catalogue but this is the place to be right now. If you are a long term fan then this will feel like another layer of rich icing on a very rewarding cake. If you are new to the band then this is the perfect place to stoke out from as you spiral back through their glorious body of work.
Quite simply an extraordinary release in a run of extraordinary releases.