Friday, October 29, 2021

Shae Brock Weaves a Yarn of Beauty and Melancholy on New EP 'Was It Real Or In My Mind'

Arizona native Shae Brock got into music at a young age, learning guitar at 16 and getting into song writing shortly after. 

Over the years, she would begin to merge her love of music with her love of journaling as her music career progressed.

Through the last couple months she had been dropping a string of very promising  singles teasing an official release.

Brock draws from her experiences to craft poignantly visceral '60s psych-rock records with incredible visual imagery on her new EP, 'Was It Real Or In My Mind'.

The opening track 'Cosmic' kicks off the EP with a psychedelic ballad about the interstellar nature of the narrator's partner and their love. Soaring harmonies and reverb soaked guitar solos swirl in the mix, all atop a steady chord progression. Towards the second half of the song an atmospheric synth is introduced into the mix, driving home that otherworldly feeling the production had been progressively building on throughout the song. The climax of the track sees a beautiful melding of the soaring vocal harmonies, the expansive synths and swirling production, but this time includes a partially temello-picked guitar solo that cuts through the mix.

The following track 'Mary Jane' rides the sonic momentum of 'Cosmic'; trading in the low-end dominating, ever present synth for a textured bass groove and light acoustic guitar progression. The tremolo effect also makes a return on this track, however this time it's used on Brocks' vocals at the start. This all culminates into the musical equivalent of stepping into a crowded bar shrouded in cigarette smoke. The opening line showcases Brocks' signature ability to create a palpable world with her phrasing: "Mary Jane comes around every night. Thanks your breath at first glance then fades out of sight" The following lyrics feed into that illusive description of the substance by juxtaposing against the illusory nature of the narrator's relationship to their partner, "Mary Jane does it better than me ~ You need her but you want me"

'Wish' brings down the pace to a nice slow burn as it indulges the quiet pensiveness of a doomed relationship. The track serves as one part wistful longing for an aloof partners affection with lyrics such as: "Sometimes I think of you and I wish I knew what it would feel like to be loved by you" and another part recounting the reasons why the relationship didn't work out in the first place, "You're hands touched my soul and left me on fire / but you wouldn't know I spoke like a liar". The instrumentals also scale back a bit to mirror the quietest parts of first two tracks on the EP with mostly synth and acoustic guitar with the occasional solo flowing through and between various sections.

From the soul turning lucidity of 'Wish' we move into the more beat centric soundscape of 'Dazey' . Once again the slick bass groove here is the star of the show, grounding the track alongside a steady set of electric guitar chords; leaving space for the synths and other instruments to act as accenting, textural elements in the mix, creating good tension and release. The chorus "Im dazey, they call my name / I skip away into the sunset, calling dazey where do you go away" uses flowery imagery to signify being lost in thoughts; while lines like "We melt away No sense of time or day" are more to the point.

Being a song about daydreaming, it accurately encapsulates both sonically and lyrically what it feels like to have your head in the clouds.

The closer 'made love to you in my dream', pulls from the musical stylings of the previous tracks to create a nice mid tempo, acoustic song that recounts a sensual dream the narrator had of their partner in that signature vivid and poetic lyrical style. With such stand out lines as, "Made love to you in my dreams, every kiss felt closer to God / still not sure what it means" during the first part of the track and "Did heaven touch you too, did heaven tell you to" on the back half, this is a strong way to close out a beautifully immersive EP.

'Was It Real Or In My Mind' is an amazing showcase of the best parts of psychedelic rock. Excellent musical dynamics, exciting builds and rewarding pay offs and expertly crafted lyrical imagery to put you in the headspace and environment of the song. For anyone who's been a fan of the recent output of acts like Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant and Lana Del Rey this is an easy must listen.

Kenneth Butcher


Image: 'Was It Real Or In My Mind' Official EP Cover

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