Recorded mostly live in May 2012 at Kingsize Soundlabs in Los Angeles, "Golden State" is the culmination of two years worth of hard work and artistic transformation. In August 2010, singer/bassist Dave Tomkins and guitarist Reza Moosavi released a 10-song debut album under the moniker Murder at the Well (also available via Bandcamp and iTunes). Shortly thereafter, a change in personnel brought drummer Kurt Berens into the fold. Within weeks a batch of new songs emerged that marked a stylistic departure from the metal-inspired material recorded by Murder at the Well. With the new songs pointing more in the direction of early 80s post-punk and early 70s prog, the decision was made to change the band's name along with its musical direction, and hence The Shadow Principle was born.
Melding influences as diverse as Peter Murphy, Tool, The Cure, Rush, David Bowie, and Queens of the Stone Age, The Shadow Principle excel at packing complex instrumentation and thoughtful lyrics into tightly drawn, relatively short songs. The familiar verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure of lead single "Losing Streak," for example, is belied by explosive rhythm section work reminiscent of The Who, no nonsense, crunchy guitars, and understated, almost indifferent vocals. This is not the work of a band desperate for attention. There's no pandering here. People can like this song -- or not. Either way, the band intends to play the hell out of it.
Other songs such as "Camera Action" and "Slow Winter" exemplify the band's occasional 80s retro vibe, while "Wicked Seas," The Rift," "Block Out the Sun," and "Swim Away" pay homage to 70s prog rockers King Crimson and Rush, while simultaneously evoking more contemporary flashes of Radiohead and Tool.
Lyrically the songs on "Golden State" examine the myth of the California Dream from the perspective of a native outsider: someone who should fit in but doesn't; someone who appears to be living the dream but isn't. What's it like to be from a place, but not feel particularly of that place? In what ways is that question made more troubling when appearances--and what's lurking beneath them--are at odds? Even if you're not from California, anyone who's had the sensation of seeing photographs of friends, of family, or of yourself that appear to tell a different story than the one you know to be true, then the lyrics on "Golden Sate" should hit home with you.
Expertly engineered by Brian Rosemeyer, and mastered by industry veteran Mark Chalecki (ELP, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.), "Golden State" delivers the goods not only musically but also sonically. Recorded using a vintage Neve console, the production on "Golden State" leaves plenty of breathing room for the band's richly layered instrumental passages and drastic dynamic shifts, while maintaining volume and punch without sounding over-compressed.
Check the band's website for information on upcoming live shows, and watch the video for "Losing Streak" by visiting www.youtube.com/theshadowprinciple
released 23 October 2012
Written & Produced by The Shadow Principle
Recorded & Mixed by Brian Rosemeyer
Mastered by Mark Chalecki
The Shadow Principle:
Dave Tomkins: Bass Guitar & Vocals
Reza Moosavi: Guitar
Kurt Berens: Drums
℗ & © 2012 Berens, Moosavi, Tomkins