Some people call me The Prophet. Or at least they should do, because I’m always prophesying one thing or another*. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m always right, however – you’re reading the words of a man who championed The Bravery for a time – although in this case I feel vindicated. I was recommending Shift-Static a couple of years ago and, given recent outpourings of love for their latest EP, In Italics (meta-titling is the coolest new meta-nomenon on the streets, by the way) it seems I was right to do so. But let’s not focus on my spectacular eye for talent too much more, shall we?
In Italics continues the Newcastle five-piece’s journey into almost irritatingly unclassifiable generic territory. Stuttering between gentle ambient work and crunching electronics, this could quite easily descend into the sort of detached, inorganic noise that has never appealed to me. At least it would if not for Laura Smith’s constant presence at the epicentre of the band’s tracks. Her drifting, airy vocals pull every other element towards them, a softly swirling dust bowl of noise, menacing and beautiful in equal measure, surrounding the calm core of everything Shift-Static attempt. This is their trick – the eponymous flickering static of their instrumentation is employed not in and of itself, but towards a further goal, a far more traditional set of melodies lie at the heart of the occasionally spasmodic jumble of sounds they employ. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to feeling smug.
*It’s going to rain later.