Genre/Influences: Electro-Wave, Dark-Wave, Dark-Pop.
Format: Digital, CD, Vinyl, Cassette.
Background/Info: The Italian duoLuca Bandini –
Alessandra Gismondi is mainly known for their involvement with Shoegaze/Dream-Pop formation Schonwald, but they’re also active since 2014 in Shad Shadows. Their common love for obscure Electronics brought them to set up this band, which has now released their fourth album. The CD is available via Silver Veins while last year Young & Cold Records released a vinyl and Wave Tension Records a cassette. “Toxic Behaviours” is a somewhat conceptual work inspired by ‘the fundamental issue whether ritual is a necessary part of all societies. Ritual does not really exist in modern Western society but some rituals became as “Toxic Behaviours” in unexpected areas of the modern life’.
Content: The songs are clearly evoking some retro Electro-Wave influences, but sometimes also a kind of electronic transposition of Shoegaze. The songs are diversified, but always recovered with vintage-like synths. It creates a dark and somewhat depressed atmosphere, which totally fits with the band’s passion for ‘obscure Electronic music’. Both protagonists, but mainly Luca, are singing, the production of the vocals having something misty, mysterious and sterile. The album features 10 songs plus 3 remixes (only for the digital and CD versions) by Andrea 20Hz, Curses and an “Alternative Version” of “Leader”.
+ + + : Shad Shadows has accomplished an interesting retro-styled and yet personal work. The misty sphere supporting the work makes me think of an Electronic version of Shoegaze, but it definitely will appeal to lovers of good-old Electro-Wave. The songs aren’t into complexity, but the simple power of retro-like sound treatments with excellent, cold strings on top. The ghost-like production of Luca Bandini’s vocals are fitting with the retro Electro style. Alessandra Gismondi is more active as backing vocalist, but her sweet ‘ice-queen’ way of singing remains a little extra. There are several cool songs, but “Fight The Dragon” definitely sounds like a masterpiece.
– – – : The remix of “Sad Bodies” by Andrea 20Hz sounds pretty cool and definitely ‘clubby’, but is quite different from the original edit.
Conclusion: After the great Shonwald album released last year, Luca Bandini –
Alessandra Gismondi found more great ideas to accomplish this intriguing and great new work by Shad shadows.
Best songs: “Fight The Dragon”, “Sad Bodies”, “Catch Fear”, “The Grace”.