Artist: Shadow Orchestra
Title: Remaker EP
Details: CD/DL. 5 track, 26 minutes
Four years on from their debut LP, the Shadow Orchestra have re-emerged as a fully fledged quintet with laptop producer and cellist Chris Bangs joined by harpist Kat Arney, drummer Dave Oliver, guitarist Nick Siddall and singer and keyboard player Mary Erskine. The result is something that sounds very much like the work of an ensemble rather than a producer plus guests. In fact, something that started out as a laptop-based project has blossomed into something more organic, and at the same time more commercially minded – but still with its integrity intact.
The first three songs Time and Distance, Matilda and Pushing To Sea feature Erskine’s vocals, and each pursues a somewhat languid, chilled out atmosphere without resorting to blandness or twee. Matilda is the pick of the trio with a hiss and click vinyl loop providing the backing for a song of lush splendour. Sweet As A Nut is a kind of electro-rock instrumental that gives the EP a bit more vigour, whilst Matilda Reprise is a mainly instrumental coda to the aforementioned song.
Four years is a long time to follow up a debut release, but effectively this is a new unit raring to go. There’s a new full length album due out next spring. Until then, the Remaker EP is a good taster of a band remade.