“Shades Of You,” the self-titled EP featuring Boone science teacher Kevin Williams on guitar, is an impressive debut with fantastic instrumentation and strong vocal performances, slightly hindered by (at times) poor mixing and a general lack of direction.
The four song prog-rock record is filled with plenty of guitar riffs, anthemic falsetto choruses, and awesome rolling drum fills.
Clocking in at just under 27 minutes, the EP is concise and to the point.
It starts out with “Color Eruption,” a straightforward rock anthem banger that pulls no punches.
It’s unbelievably dense, but the song gives the listener little breaks through the first half that are much needed. As “Color Eruption” progresses, it drags just a bit—but the interlude before the final chorus keeps the listener engaged.
All in all, it’s a damn good song. There is plenty of virtuosity on display, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing—it’s more just the band’s vibe.
“Remember the Howl,” the second song on the EP, is definitely a contender for the most catchy tune. The chorus is instantly memorable and the sweet guitar licks allow the listener to take a breather from the intensity of the first track—whether they want to or not.
As a whole, this song feels sort of out of place with the rest of the EP. The dramatized falsettos (especially at the very beginning) feel like an odd choice and the guitar riffs are a little tedious.
Also, its placement as the second song on the EP feels unwise—it interrupts the flow of things.
It’s still quite good, it’s just almost too mild in an otherwise fervent record. It picks up a bit towards the end (thanks to the tribalish drums) but it feels like too little too late.
“Puzzled Pieces,” the third song on the EP, is probably the strongest of the four.
There is a lot to like about it—the drumming is intense and the guitars really shine on this track—in general it feels like the band is playing the most “together” as a group.
At times the vocals seem too quiet and washed compared to the instruments, especially during the chorus, and it somewhat takes away from an otherwise gem of a song, but when the vocals are given an opportunity to take the forefront, they really shine.
The singer’s vocal tones are better realized on “Puzzled Pieces” than any other song on the EP, and it’s a treat to listen to when the listener can properly hear him.
“Love Is but the Dreamer” is the EP’s final song. It’s the longest at nearly 9 minutes, and it’s certainly the most demanding cut on the project.
There are just so many ideas being thrown together on this song and not all stick. Throughout the track, there feels like numerous changes in artistic direction, and as a result the listener gets a bit of whiplash.
What does work, however, really works.
The drums are insane here—they’re textured, atmospheric, and towards the latter half become the clear lead voice of the track.
As for the rest of the instrumentation—the bass lines during the chorus are killer, the guitar riffs are grandiose, and the rhythm guitar holds everything together really well. The song is certainly climactic as a whole, and the band plays towards their strengths, but perhaps the whole thing is a bit too ambitious.
The lyrics on “Love Is but the Dreamer” call back to the previous cuts on the record which finally does add a bit of cohesion to the project.
What “Shades Of You” makes clear is that this band is more than just a passion project. The performances are sincere and solid throughout, and the short track list leaves the listener wanting more.