The cloying darkness of “Just Try To” is a real highlight. Emmanuel’s slightly French accented vocals succeed in adding to the mystique. “Dangerous Minds” takes us even deeper as Emmanuel delivers the growls. When “The World Is So Grey” starts you could be excused for thinking that your multi disc CD player must be on shuffle. Such is their diversity.
This track catches their strength. Huge mists of atmosphere and dark corners radiate from the simple acoustic backing proving again that you just can’t second guess Shudderwall. The growlingly angry “Self Judgement” disturbingly leads to the deceptive opening of “In These Strange Days”. It’s Peter Hammill meeting with Sabbath crossed with the bastard offspring of some sinister metal band. Shudderwall indeed.
Florence’s vocals add that splash of intrigue, along with light and contrast. This isn’t a band to take the easy road and you can easily become locked in, not knowing what is coming next. A short but disturbingly powerful “The Doors We Hide” leads to“Not More Than A Silence” which carries on the vibe. A more chilled “It Doesn’t Hurt Me” bring it all to an abrupt end.
Scott Mathews’ intrigue was clearly pricked by what he heard. He certainly has an ability to separate the unique from the also-rans. The band meanwhile has the courage and determination to be themselves and to do what the hell they like.
This definitely isn’t the rather cozy family gathering shown on the cover and suggests that maybe it isn’t so nice in Nice after all. Instead they have delivered an album that defies neat pigeon holes or cozy categorization. As a result you have something which, if played in a darkened room with headphones, scares the proverbial hell out of you. Believe me. it’s true. I did it.
Find out more and listen for yourself on Shudderwalls MySpace page.