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Is Shepherd ‘Pine Box’ Single

Pine Box‘ is the first real single from Newcastle folk-rockers Is Shepherd, although I came across it on their EP ‘Songs For Sons’ earlier this year.

First of all, what’s with these weird, middle-of-a-sentence band names (I just reviewed a band called Is Tropical)? And, secondly, what’s with Is Shepherd‘s strange concoction of music styles? The trio have managed to fuse together all sorts on ‘Pine Box,’ from folk, blues, indie-pop, swamp (!?), and surf rock. It makes for odd listening, and it definitely takes a few listens to absorb all the genres and aspects of this multi-layered single, but Is Shepherd are worth taking your time with.

Singer Ben Trenerry‘s voice is haunting, managing to have a kind of pretty surface sound and a sinister heart. Unlike much of the rest of their EP, the Bon Iver-folk aspect is left in the shadows, letting some drunken electric guitars take the lead – equal parts jangly surf rock and sultry blues rock, they are simply compelling (the riff of the last thirty seconds actually made me wince with approval). The rhythm section does a fine job of keeping the creeping nature of the vocals and guitar grounded, but the drummer isn’t given much room to impress.

In this folk-heavy indie era, this textured folk-rock song has the audacity to actually sound somewhat original, and for that reason alone Is Tropical are well worth giving some attention. What’s more, there is an eerie atmosphere to ‘Pine Box‘ that makes the Halloween release date highly appropriate.

Originally published by AAA Music here

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~ by cliveparisrozario on October 30, 2011.

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