Recommended Albums #4

The Shore

The Shore: The Shore (2004)

Why the Shore’s self-titled debut album didn’t vault the band to fame is a mystery to this writer and to all nine people who’ve heard the record. It wouldn’t bother me so much if I weren’t of a religious bent. But as it happens I do believe there’ll come a day when our lives and choices will be judged. And don’t think we won’t be held accountable for that Hootie & The Blowfish album selling 16 million-plus copies. Furthermore I’m pretty sure it’ll be inquired of us why we chose to ignore the prophet sent to redeem our music-loving souls shortly after the Guy At The Great Mixing Board decided He wouldn’t end it all on a nice round number after all. Won’t you feel a little stupid then? Cracked Rear View, indeed.

Ben Ashley is that voice in the (California) desert. He fronts the Shore, and the guy brings a heavy toolbox to the job. He writes sturdy songs with insistent melodies and puts them across with an angelic voice. The band’s hazy, neo-psychedelic sound is sometimes likened to the Verve, Oasis or Coldplay. But while those bands serve as points of reference, the Shore are as distinct from them as they are similar.

The band’s label, Maverick, dissolved not long after this release. Lack of label support (then lack of a label, come to think of it) probably played a large part in suppressing what might have been a monster record. While we’re kind of on the topic of blame you may consider Madonna, Maverick’s founder, partly responsible for allowing the label to go to hell. But surely she’ll have bigger things to answer for when it’s her turn to follow. And as long as you and I each own a copy of The Shore, at least we can say it wasn’t our fault.

This is one of those records that sounds better with the volume up–loud enough to drown out sounds of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Listen to: “Hard Road”

Listen to: “Take What’s Mine”

Listen to: “Everything We Are”

Listen to: “It Ain’t Right”

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