“Tell me if you can
where does the sadness come from?
Will it ever end
and what would happen if it did?”
So begins the second side of Granite Shore’s new LP “Suspended Second.” With band leader and Occultation label head Nick Halliwell’s immensely melancholic baritone standing out in the mix, the questions seem relevant to ask.
On debut album “Once More From The Top” from 2015, the sadness related to the tragic story of the rise and fall of a rock band. This time round, the source seems to be Brexit and the overall state of the world.
But despite all the sadness, there is no cynicism. The Granite Shore’s music is somehow pure. And more now than before, it is unashamedly tuneful, even anthemic.
Although there is anger, it never rises to the surface. Instead it is wrapped in lushly orchestrated chamber pop that acknowledges its own lost-in-timeliness in a way that I believe even Nick Drake would have approved of. Imagine the Divine Comedy without the comedy, lead by a crooner without the croon.
But this is not music that drags you down; on the contrary, it gently fills your lungs with air and makes you, at least for an instant, think about the larger scheme of things. For a fleeting moment, a suspended second of Brexit history hangs shimmering in front of you. Then it is gone again.
But the heavily understated quality of the music remains, and makes you keep thinking.
In a sense, this is not so much a review as a text to celebrate that music of this kind can be made in 2017. And I could think of few records more worthy of a physical purchase. The packaging promises to be as gorgeous as for the debut album, and represents quite an effort for a minuscule label such as Occultation.